Law Text Culture


T. Threadgold


Deconstruction and the Possibility of Justice has a place in the chain of readings/rewritings (in Dworkin's sense) that constitute the field of recent and emerging Australian work in Law and Literature and Critical Legal Studies. At the same time it is a book that is marked by an extraordinary difference to the Australian work. Perhaps in this case differance (in Derrida's sense) would be the better term since there is within the chapters of the book a constant deferral of the business of deconstruction in favour of the assertion of the possibility of justice in abstract theoretical terms. The theme of the difference of deconstruction in the United States context is one that is constantly reiterated in the book from the moment of Derrida's reference to the development of critical legal studies and deconstruction "in such an interesting way in this country" (p.9) in the first chapter in the book, through Samuel Weber's reference to Derrida's statement that the United States is "that historical space" which is "the most sensitive, receptive or responsive space of all to the themes and effects of deconstruction" (p.232), to Hillis Miller's comment on the conflation in critical legal studies of "reader-response theory" with "deconstruction" (something that is evident in Fred Dallmayr's chapter in the book) and his statement that "Deconstruction in America" is not the same thing as deconstruction elsewhere (p.306).