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Deborah Charles Publications
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Gideon Calder, "Postmodernism and its Ironies" (Review of Terry Eagleton, The Illusions of Postmodernism and Michael Luntley, Reason, Truth and Self: The Postmodern Reconditioned), Res Publica III/2 (1997), 221-228: A review of two quite distinct approaches to the issues thrown up by postmodernist thinking in general. Both, I suggest, are well worth reading, though for separate reasons. Eagleton offers a sparkling and incisive corrective to the sloppier, more confused and politically most debilitating aspects of postmodernism which is both eminently readable and full of serious insights. Though rather fudgy amd generalistic in some parts, in others it provides a promising skecth for an alternative, socialist agenda for theory and practice. Luntley's book has a different mission: basically to harness key epistemological insights of postmodernism to a sort of modest realism freed of the scientistic reductionisms he takes to be typical of Enlightenment thought. It's a clearly argued, consistently interesting attempt, although I suggest that his approach is rather one-dimensional, arguably dealing in straw targets. I conclude by suggesting that thought there is much to be sceptical of in postmodernist thought, engagement with it is crucial, both to reveal its strengths and shortcomings and to demonstrate how its own targets might be shown to survive the postmodernist critique intact - a survival which, as Eagleton shows, may be crucial to the future of critical philosophy. e-mail: SENGJC@hum2s.Cardiff.ac.uk

C.N. Candlin & Yon Maley (Macquarie University, Sydney, Australia), "Framing the Dispute", International Journal for the Semiotics of Law / Revue Internationale de Sémiotique Juridique Vol. VIII no.19 [1994], 75-98. Mediation in Western societies has emerged as a mode of dispute resolution alternative or additional to adjudication and formal court systems. This paper is concerned with non-curial but court-annexed mediation and the discourse which defines and is defined by it. We focus on one aspect of mediator discourse: the strategic use of formulations and framings, or reframings. Formulations and reframing are common strategies in courtroom examinations, counselling and therapy. As they are borrowed and moved from one institutional context to another, these intertextual elements undergo a transforming process and take on an altered semiotic value in the service of helping the parties reach settlement. We show how the mediator's use of formulations, either as a gist or upshot of a previous contribution, attempts to reframe the parties' perception of events or of each other. All formulations alter meaning simultaneously in experiential (referential), interpersonal and textual, dimensions; using Halliday's (1985) notion of rhetorical thrust, we show how the dominant thrust of framing and reframing in mediation is to neutralise and generalise.

Alan Carling, "A Question of Attitude: Marcus Roberts on Analytical Marxism" (Review of Marcus Roberts, Analytical Marxism: a Critique), Res Publica IV/2 (1998), 211-228: Marcus Roberts' book Analytical Marxism: A Critique attempts both to overview the development of the *analytical Marxist* paradigm, and subject its principal tenets to a major critique. Although it contains some excellent exposition and much intelligent critical commentary, the book in the end has serious shortcomings on both counts. In terms of overview, the book concentrates on G.A. Cohen's version of the *theory of history*, somewhat at the expense of other analytical Marxists such as Erik Olin Wright, Adam Przerworski and Philippe van Parijs, and even of G.A. Cohen's more recent work in political philosophy. In terms of critique, Roberts argues that analytical Marxism should be defined by its *methodology* - its use of individualistic explanation and the rational choice assumption, for example - and that this methodology fails. The problem is that Roberts' arguments to this effect are not very convincing, and that he does not specify very carefully what criteria would need to be met for analytical Marxism to succeed either as social theory, or as Marxism. It is this problem of attitude which finally vitiates Roberts's account.

David Caudill, "Lacan and Legal Language: Meaning in the Gaps, Gaps in the Meaning", Law & Critique III/2 (1992), 169-210: Caudill explores Lacan's language theory with reference to the doctrinal debate over contractual gap-filling. The silences or gaps in contracts - - unaddressed contingencies - - function as an unconscious source of meaning.

David Caudill, "Social Hysteria on Modern Witch-hunts: A Response to Brion", Law & Critique V/1 (1994), 31-51: Caudill revisits Brion's work on hysteria in the Salem witch trails and in contemporary mass child abuse accusations, and makes comparisons with radical feminist and Lacanian nations of hysteria.


Emilios A Christodoulidis & Wilson Finnie, "How the Ace of Trumps Failed to Win the Trick", Res Publica I/2 [1995], 131-146: The article examines a highly political piece of protest against the Poll tax in Scotland and its treatment by the Scottish courts. It argues that the absence of an entrenched Bill of Rights and a lack of commitment to upholding the principle of the protection of free speech in the common law, allowed the judicial system to dispose of a case raising acute civil liberties issues as merely an exercise in legal technicalities and to do this without any reference to the civil liberties issues themselves. Postal address: Faculty of Law, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh EH8 9YL. e-mails: Emilios.Christodoulidis@ed.ac.uk, Wilson.Finnie@ed.ac.uk

Emilios Christodoulidis and Scott Veitch, "The Ignonimy of Unredeemed Politics: Revolutionary Speech as Differend", International Journal for the Semiotics of Law / Revue Internationale de Sémiotique Juridique Vol. X no.29 (1997), 141-157. In this article the writers analyse revolutionary speech as a case of what Jean François Lyotard describes as a 'differend'. The focus is on confrontations between political activists and judges during political trials. The analysis attempts to locate and describe the logic of law's mis-recognition of the activists' claims and its own redemption from the silencing it thus imposes. By looking closely at law's mechanism of subsumption, its projection of a 'formula of identity' between addressors and addressees of norms, its 'autological' use of reference, etc, the authors attempt to explain why the revolutionary's text is forever subverted under the legal categories the law employs to interpret it, and identify this as a form of 'terror' exercised by the law. e-mail: elfp89@srv0.law.ed.ac.uk

Luke Clements, "Community Care: Towards a Workable Statute", in "Social Work Law: an Interface for Policy and Practice Development", Liverpool Law Review XIX/2 (1997), 181-191: The article analyses the need for the reform of Community Care Law and concludes that simple codification is not possible. It explores the constraints which limit the possibility of an over-arching substitute statute (like the analogous Children Act 1989). The author concludes that the reforming Act will need avoid resource questions (charging for services and how substantial a service will be) and concentrate upon the issue of legal entitlement to services and 'due process' in how such decisions are reached. The article proposes that a reformed statute should be based upon a core of agreed principles (the promotion of independence, minimum restriction of individual liberty etc). The remaining key sections of the reform statute are then considered. e-mail: luke@clements.kc3ltd.co.uk

Philip Cole, "Problems with "Persons"", Res Publica III/2 (1997), 165-183: This paper critically examines the concept of a person that has come to play a central role in medical ethics. That concept claims that the most morally valuable lives are possessed by persons, and persons are beings that possess rationality and self-consciousness. This view also holds that only persons are morally wronged when they are killed, because only persons have an interest in continued life, by virtue of their rationality and self-consciousness. The paper looks in detail at this view as expressed by John Harris in The Value of Life, and argues that, to the extent that Harris is interpreted as offering an account of the moral value of personhood in terms of necessary and sufficient conditions - those conditions being rationality and self-consciousness - this must be a misinterpretation. No such account of personhood is available: rather, personhood is a "cluster" concept, and a set of necessary and sufficient conditions cannot be supplied. The paper further argues that, although the concept of a person is a moral concept, the distinction between persons and non-persons is not a moral distinction: that is, from an account of the moral value of persons, nothing follows concerning the moral value of non-persons. From, this, the paper rejects the view that the persons/non-persons distinction coincides with the immorality/acceptability of killing boundary, by critically examining the arguments of Dan W. Brock in Life and Death. e-mail: p.cole@mdx.ac.uk

William E. Conklin, "The Transformation of Meaning, Legal Discourse and Canadian Internment Camps" International Journal for the Semiotics of Law / Revue Internationale de Sémiotique Juridique IX/27 (1996), 227-256: This essay examines how the lawyer reads a social event through secondary signifying relations. The event is a signified event. The legal discourse displaces the meanings which a non-knower embodied through her/his own language. As a consequence an untranslatable gap lies inside the legal discourse of a modern state. A law suit involves two types of harm: the indigenously experienced harm, such as an assault or breach of contract; and the harm brought on through the displacement of meaning in the legal discourse itself.
The Paper exemplifies the claim with reference to the displacement of the embodied meanings of internees in Canadian internment camps, during the Second World War and its aftermath. The legal discourse signified certain citizens and landed immigrants as "persons of Japanese ancestry". The professional knowers - the lawyers and judges - read this sign in the 'context' of the sign, "emergency." An "emergency" signified that the Federal Parliament and its agents could legislate authoritatively when, under non-emergency conditions, only the Provinces could do so. The signified 'fact' of an emergency was immersed into familiar chains of other signs.
As juridical agents traced such signs backwards through institutional history, the embodied meanings of the internees were forgotten, lost, dispersed. The re-signification of the internees became the event. The juridical agents took their chains of signs as constitutive of the true/real. Force seemed 'natural' in such a world. But in displacing the embodied meanings of the aggrieved, the knowers' discourse failed to respond to the language of the non-knower. The juridical transformation of meaning was complete. The prospect of a dialogic legal order is raised.
The author is University Research Professor, 1996; and Professor, Faculty of Law, University of Windsor.

Amedeo G. Conte, "Eidetic-Constitutive Rules", in Law and Language. The Italian Analytic School (click here for further details): This paper is a contribution to philosophical deontics [Deontik, déontique, deontica]. It deals with the concept of eidetic-constitutive rules (the paradigm case of eidetic-constitutive rules is the rules of chess). The paper is divided into three parts. The first part examines the relations between the three concepts of eidetic-constitutive rules, anankastic-constitutive rules and anankastic rules. The second part evaluates John R. Searle's theory of constitutive rules. The third part discusses the semiotic and epistemological relevance of the concept of eidetic-constitutive rules.

Raymond Coulon, "The alien as a soft target for exorcizing violence", International Journal for the Semiotics of Law X/28 (1997), 37-53. Using the Greimassian model of semiotics, this paper looks at the French legislative discourse on immigration as the surface realisation of a deeper narrative stereotype [see B.S. Jackson, Making Sense in Law (Deborah Charles Publications, 1995), 181-193]. Focussing on the thematic construction of meaning, it seeks to account for the transformation of a scapegoating type of problem-solving narrative into the archetypal narrative of exorcizing violence. It argues that this change of narrative goals is achieved through paradigmatic substitutions affecting the actantial figures of alien and national. Each substitution re-configures the Subject's perception of, and relationship with the alien. Ultimately, when all the traits which they have in common (being victims, being human) have been blotted out and the alien has been demonized, there is only one thing to do and that is to exorcize it. The paper further argues that this end goal will be recognised as all the more desirable and achievable, if the narratives associated with paradigmatic substitutions touch off the psychotropic power of the myths and mythical figures embedded in the narratives which inform the Subject's thematic construction of meaning. e-mail: R.J.M.Coulon@ukc.ac.uk

 

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