n South African Law Journal - Jacques Derrida: Law as Absolute Hospitality, Jacques de Ville : book review

Volume 129, Issue 4
  • ISSN : 0258-2503
  • E-ISSN: 1996-2177



I must confess that it was quite by coincidence that the context in which I came to read this book primarily involves two things - reading Nietzsche and watching the monumental science fiction quadrilogy that is the films, now supplemented by Ridley Scott's 2012 prequel, . It was only by the end of Jacques de Ville's book on Derrida and law that it became apparent in how uncanny a fashion this reading-context resonates with the content of the book, for it is only in the concluding chapter of his text (under the somewhat ominously foreboding heading of 'Legal philosophers of a new species' (at 197)), that Nietzsche is invoked contemporaneously with the figure of the monster, or then, of the alien. My remarks about this book are thus inevitably 'framed' (as Derrida would put it) by this context and thus necessarily provisional and even violent. The criticisms expressed herein should, however, be read also in the context of an appreciation for all the recent work that, like the one under discussion, continues to show the relevance of deconstruction for legal studies. I hasten, on the other hand, to add that 's claim that there was no ethical turn in Derrida's work, that it was always concerned with ethical questions, is a claim that I share - but it is really not a novel claim (see for instance, Mark Dooley & Liam Kavanagh (2007) 107).

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