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deconstruction as interpretation, socio-legal theories


In recent years legal scholars have drawn upon the insights of postmodernism and deconstruction as methods for the interpretation of legal texts. In this article the author attempts to assess the work of Baudrillard, Derrida and Lyotard not merely as interpretative strategies but as potential socio-legal theories. In order to ground the analysis, the author locates the assessment in the context of the hunger strike by Irish prisoners in 1981. Drawing on the insights of postmodernism and deconstruction the author proposes that the fast can be understood as the erruption of a pre-colonial juridical consciousness by means of which the prisoners, quite literally, embodied law. However, by highlighting the specifics of the hunger strike, the author cautions that an unmodified postmodernism may generate some significant hurdles for those who seek a progressive and empowering sociolegal theory.