n South African Law Journal - Jurisprudence, friendship and the university as heterogeneous public space

Volume 127, Issue 4
  • ISSN : 0258-2503
  • E-ISSN: 1996-2177



In this article the author raises a few ideas concerning jurisprudence, academic friendship and community, and the university as heterogenous public space. She warns against overzealous belief in and reliance on a kind of rationality that results in functionalism. In following the distinction between 'optimal' and 'true' philosophy an argument for jurisprudence as a continuous engagement with complexity is proposed. Drawing on aesthetic examples she reflects on the becoming of a post-apartheid jurisprudence with reference to notions of slowness, memorial constitutionalism, transformative constitutionalism and refusal.

Concerning friendship, the author discusses the significance of friendship, democracy and community for not only academic teaching and research but also academic interaction and collegiality. In connection with the argument on jurisprudence and against the background of Derridean insights, a philosophical engagement with friendship and democracy is supported. Finally an argument is made for the university as a heterogenous public space that should encourage ongoing deliberation and contestation. It is contended that a certain understanding of democracy and friendship is crucial for the functioning of a university as a truly heterogenous space and not one that continues hegemony. In conclusion the author, following Hannah Arendt, calls for jurisprudence in particular and the university on a wider level to engage with complex thinking.

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