Adam Gearey

January 23, 1998

Adam Gearey explains how postmodernism has enabled him to marry law and literature in his doctoral research at the University of Kent.

When I came to London to begin my PhD at Birkbeck College, I found myself in the midst of intellectual ferment; there was the excitement of new ideas emerging, inspired by eclectic borrowings from diverse sources.This was the first wave of "postmodernism", which is now becoming arigorous thinking through of the limits and possibilitiesof law at the millennium's end.

My work concerns the problematicrelationship between James Joyce's chaotic novel, Finnegans Wake, and ideas of law. I tried to trace the ways the account of the giving of the law in the Bible fed into the narratives of Finnegans Wake. Just as the Bible appropriated the Jewish Old Test-ament account of the law, Joyce's novel, in its turn, rewrote the Gospel narratives, to become a messianic announcement of the female messiah and a new law of love.

These ideas could not have been thought without the encouragement of the "critical legal theory" scene. This is ranged acrossvarious institutions: the Universities of Kent, Warwick, Lancashire, Staffordshire and London, for example, all have scholars producing critical legal theory. Outside the UK there are "critical" law schools in Australia, America and Eastern Europe.

But it would be wrong to see this as a "movement". It isan impossiblecommunity of those who disagree as much as they agree. Leaning to broadly continental traditions of thought, to psychoanalysis, post-Marxism and feminism, there is a strong sense of sustained and creative dialogue in "critical" circles. The revolution in legal thought is still to come.

You've reached your article limit

Register to continue

Registration is free and only takes a moment. Once registered you can read a total of 6 articles each month, plus:

  • Sign up for the editor's highlights
  • Receive World University Rankings news first
  • Get job alerts, shortlist jobs and save job searches
  • Participate in reader discussions and post comments

Have your say

Log in or register to post comments

Featured Jobs

Lecturer/Assistant Professor of Psychology UNIVERSITY COLLEGE DUBLIN (UCD)
Lecturer/Assistant Professor of Geography UNIVERSITY COLLEGE DUBLIN (UCD)
Lecturer/Assistant Professor of Economics UNIVERSITY COLLEGE DUBLIN (UCD)
Lecturer/Assistant Professor (BDIC) UNIVERSITY COLLEGE DUBLIN (UCD)
Lecturer/Assistant Professor in Social Work UNIVERSITY COLLEGE DUBLIN (UCD)

Most Commented

Home secretary says government will support 'best' universities

Man handing microphone to audience member

Academic attainment of disadvantaged students can be improved if they can decide how they are assessed, study claims

Woman drinking tea from saucer

Plugging a multibillion-pound deficit exacerbated by June’s poll result may require ‘drastic measures’, analysts have warned

Italy's gold medallist

New measures to ensure universities are ‘not penalised’ for taking poorer students also outlined for next stage of TEF

Classroom, school

Higher education institutions can and should do more to influence education at a secondary school level, says Edward Peck