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Playing With the Pieces: Postmodernism in the Lawyer's Toolbox
Virginia Law Review (1999)
  • Stephen M. Feldman, University of Wyoming
The distinction between modernism and postmodernism in legal scholarship is highly complex. This Essay does not explore this problem in depth but builds on the recognition that most modernist scholars expressly articulate and defend normative values and goals, while postmodern scholars rarely do so. Postmodernists are themselves enmeshed within the structures of scholarly and lawyerly discourse. As such, they must construct narratives and arguments that use the available rhetorical tools of discourse--namely, they must use modernist and postmodernist concepts to present their views. But whereas modernist scholars use similar tools with earnestness, postmodernist scholars use these tools with irony. Postmodernists use the tools despite knowing that they cannot perform as promised; in particular, modernist tools cannot deliver any indubitably grounded results. In this sense, postmodern scholarship amounts to playing with the pieces--even the fallen pieces that remain from deconstructed modernist positions.
  • postmodernism,
  • legal scholarship,
  • modernism in legal scholarship,
  • Pierre Schlag
Publication Date
Citation Information
Stephen M. Feldman. "Playing With the Pieces: Postmodernism in the Lawyer's Toolbox" Virginia Law Review Vol. 85 (1999)
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