Derrida on Law by John McCormick

John P. McCormick, “Derrida on Law; or, Poststructuralism gets Serious,” Political Theory 29 (2001): pp. 395-423.


In the wake of the Paul de Man controversy nearly a decade ago, Jacques Derrida delivered a lecture on the “Force of Law.” It had only recently come to light that de Man, an intimate of Derrida and high-profile practitioner of deconstruction, had collaborated with fascism in wartime Belgium. Derrida’s work and the poststructuralist movement with which it was associated had long been suspected of–perhaps unwittingly and unintentionally–promoting nihilism and authoritarianism. L’affaire de Man rendered these charges more plausible than ever before.