Author Archives: iloveschool09

Deconstruction Is Justice

Jacques Derrida (1930-2004) was a twentieth century philosopher who developed a strategy called “deconstruction” in the mid 1960’s.  “Deconstruction” has been noted to be a hard term to define. Deconstruction occurs when a word or context of a statement that is believed to have a fixed meaning is changed. An everyday example of this would be the translation of words from one language or culture to another. For example the swastika as a symbol and word was adopted by Nazi Germany in 1920, and used to represent the Aryn race. Hence, the “swastika” has now been strongly stigmatized.  However, the “swastika” has also been used by various ancient cultures in the world and still to this day is associated to be a positive symbol. For example in Hinduism, the word “swastika” translates to “to be good”, and is also the sacred symbol of auspiciousness. Here we have the same symbol and the same word, however one’s fixed understanding and meaning of the word would differ from another’s because the same words don’t have the same meaning. Derrida was committed to analyzing the literal meaning of a text all whilst finding alternative meanings as to what the text was stating. Deconstruction  probes questions about the limits and edges that have been placed on contexts. Making them adhere to a certain identity, and take on only one meaning when the context, text, or word can encompass so much more.

Derrida makes the claim that “Deconstruction is Justice”. With my understanding of deconstruction it is difficult to deconstruct the term “justice”. As justice has taken various different forms throughout periods of time and has changed ideology across culture to culture. Justice may be considered to have been served in one circumstance according to one person, and someone could disagree and say justice hasn’t been served. I agree with Derrida’s claim that “Deconstruction is Justice”. Taking a look at the process in which laws are interrupted in a case or in the courtroom is a key example of “Deconstruction is Justice”. Laws are made and state a certain limitation or power to do something however, each law is interpreted differently from individual to individual. Finding justice is something that since the start of time has been sought after, however with no one definition or one interpretation we may never be able to seek justice because of the ever changing definition and ideologies packed into the word.

http://www.iep.utm.edu/derrida/#H2

Pavlich (2011) – Chapter 11 – Just Events: Law and Society

Weber, Elisabeth (2005). “Deconstruction is Justice”, SubStance 34(1): 38-43

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State of exception

A state of exception can be understood as an, increase of power in government in supposed times of crisis. Agamben states that the ruling government body that allows the rule of law to be dismissed imposes a state of exception. This exemption occurs when there is a state of emergency such as a war or political unrest and in some cases when the government wants to impose laws for other means. (e.g., Nazi Laws) Within these times of crisis Agamben addresses how this prolonged state of exception operates to deprive and reject individuals of their citizenship, and individual rights. In a state of exception the government has extended levels of power and authority than the past. With this new level of extended authority there is a blurred distinction between what is legal and illegal, public and private.

States of exception comes into being when there is an increase in government power in supposed times of crisis. In order to enact a state of exemption one person or government must make a case to the public that this has to happen. The citizens of the state are told that this extension of power beyond where the law had existed in the past is vital to ensure the safety and wellbeing of the state and the citizens that reside in it. A Canadian example of a state of exemption being used is the War Measures Act during the October Crisis during 1970 in Quebec. With the enactment of the War Measures Act through the Pubic Orders Regulations citizens were subjected to; being detained or arrested in roundups and publications, media, and photographs were censored and under the control of the government. In a state of exception citizens no longer have individual rights or civil liberties.

The subjects living in a state of exception do not have any legal status, as stated by Agamben they are, seen just as living human beings and not a legal being. Individuals are not only deprived of their citizenship but also denied in making their own decisions regarding their life. Citizens in a state of exception are much like prisoners, the parallel can be seen in both circumstances where someone of a greater authority is regulating their lives. Citizens are told that these changes in power and authority must be made for their own good, although in most circumstances the individual or body of government is exempt from their own laws.

References:

Pavlich, G. (2011). Law & Society Redefined. Don Mills, Ontario: Oxford University Press.

http://territorialmasquerades.net/state-of-exception/

http://www.thecanadianencyclopedia.com/articles/war-measures-act

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Crime, is it really necessary?

Emile Durkheim suggests that crime is a normal part of society and that it is necessary and indispensable. What he means in this statement is that, in order for a normal functioning society there must be the existence of crime. Crime is normal and can be found in all societies across the world. As societies gradually advance over time simultaneously so do crime rates. Although, every society has the existence of crime there is still a difference in the types and rates of crime that occur in any given society. For example, advanced societies will see more advanced and contemporary forms of crime such as identity theft, fraud or embezzlement of funds and developing societies experience crimes that are more suitable to their environment such as property crimes.

A society without crime is what many people wish for; they wish to achieve this form of utopia. However, societies where there are very low rates of crime are often dysfunctional and do not allow for any social change. For example North Korea does not release statistics on their crime rates nonetheless it has been noted that violent crime is very rare, and that street crime is also uncommon. [1] Varying political, and economic factors contribute and influence the rate of crime at any given point in time. In this example of North Korea, there is no organized free media, religious freedom, or political opposition citizens in this country are essentially prisoners to the government and there is no advocacy for social change out of fear.

Open, and flexible countries with freedom have crime and deviant behavior. It is more desirable to live in a society with crime because these societies are ones that promote social change. Societies are strengthened when there is crime because they are able to come together as a cohesive group and advocate for changes and promote beliefs and values. Often times a public outcry for change is met, reaffirming to citizens that their ideals and ethics do hold merit with the government.

Deviance serves major functions to society according to Durkheim; it affirms our cultural values and norms and clarifies moral boundaries. It also promotes social unity and encourages social change.[2] A society without crime is an ideal place for many, (so they may think.) However, a society without crime is society without any progress.

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