Steve Sachs Duke


Wednesday, January 12, 2005


On Clarity: One final point that should be made about Kennedy's essay: it's very clearly written and easy to understand, even if you disagree with his argument. What's more, Kennedy maintains this level of clarity while challenging the form, as well as the content, of legal education and legal reasoning.

As a result, Kennedy's essay is a welcome respite from some other CLS scholarship we've read, in which the bad writing served only to mask the incoherent argument within. It's a perfect counterpoint to the post-modern attitude that to be effectively 'subversive,' an essay must be either a jargon-laden monstrosity of Theory, or a disorganized, ill-considered, self-obsessive, stream-of-consciousness train wreck.

By means of comparison, I offer the following description of a conference in Oxford last June:

Today's geo-political climate has posed new challenges to the ways in which we theorize violence and our relationship to it. The tension between epistemic violence and emerging modalities of warfare (e.g. cellular, decentralized terrorism and post-globalized neo-colonial occupation) has destabilized the preservation of any static notion of "the violent." Clearly, it is now more critical than ever that we metatheorize the discursive and literal space of violence, and investigate its relationship with our present historical moment. The panel discussion will address violence, as a problem and/or a question, and its location in the interstices of the strategic and the performative.

(Emphasis added.) Clearly...




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