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date: 20 March 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter begins with a discussion of postmodernism and its suggestive gestures. It then turns to the post-structuralist posture of legal history, and concludes with a summary of its structuralist rival. It argues that if we imagine postmodernism as a family of suggestions for historicizing the legal world, we can also imagine post-structuralism and structuralism as two historical postures, two ways of practising the postmodern. The post-structuralist posture, sketched through the medium of the genealogy, embraces certain postmodern anxieties, and runs with them. The structuralist posture, sketched through the medium of archaeology, is similarly receptive to the postmodern. But rather than let postmodernism run riot in a flattened and hybridized present, the structuralist posture performs rather differently. The structuralist experiences the dizzying vertigo of the genealogy, and in the midst of the free-fall, erects grand, totalizing structures of legal thought.

Keywords: legal history, structuralism, post-structuralism, historiography, law, postmodernism

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