Author Archives: raaaydre

Deconstruction & Justice? Two Different Approaches

This week’s food for though touches on the deconstructivist approaches to law and society which view law, society and justice not necessarily as fixed and discrete categories, but also as concepts that are “always becoming”.

Derrida claims “Deconstruction is Justice”. Derrida claims “unpredictable and without warning in the silenced, supplemental, marginal excluded, and degraded elements of text (P.171, Pavlich). I believe what he means by this is that deconstruction consists in any attempt to try re-conceive the difference that divides our self- reflection or self-consciousness but also the re-conception of difference and more importantly, that deconstruction works towards preventing the worst violence. It attempts to render justice. He also explains how communication is misunderstood. What one person may be saying, another person understands differently. With that being said he explains that language and communication are key factors in law, and if there is no understanding there may be different interpretations and meanings to what is actually being conveyed.

In terms of my opinion in regards to Derrida’s statement I would have to disagree with the statement that “deconstruction is justice”, the reason being is because in my opinion they both have the same very concepts but they also have different approaches. Justice is the concept of being fair and just, while deconstruction is the thought of differences between words rather than their reference to the things they stand for. Like previously said, different meanings are discovered by taking apart the structure of language used and putting assumptions and different meanings to what is being said.

I agree with Derrida’s view on deconstruction is justice. Both deconstruction and justice are both based on looking forward. For example, a lawyer may be interrogating and accused person, he questions and undermines the accused. If we were to put the concept “deconstruction is just”, Derrida would proceed to believe that this procedure of our justice system is either just or unjust.

Both justice and deconstruction present good key concepts, but I believe that to put the two concepts together cannot be done as they may have some sort of the same meaning but both end up at two different approaches.

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Indefinite Detention is Morally Unjust

This weeks food for thought focuses on the merge of sovereignty and govern mentality and the on concept of counter- law or laws that are against the law.  When defining counter-law it is said to be the laws that oppose and mitigate the effects of by contrary action.

The theorization of the Kingston Immigration Holding Centre presented by Larsen and Piche differs from Agamben’s theorization. Larsen and Piche believe that these new holding facilities, or camps, are “the product of a series of decisions designed to functionally blur the spaces of the camp and the prison while maintaining their technical distinction.” Larsen and Piche are against the notion of security certificates which is a mechanism in which the Government can detain and deport foreigners and all other non-Canadian citizens back to there home town. Larsen and Piche believe that “In at least one respect, prisons are like superheroes: you can learn a lot about their purpose, character, and abilities by figuring out their ‘origin stories.’” With that being said, Larsen and Piche have strong views within there ideal institutionalization. They believe that the primary focus the exceptional practices and organizational mandates.

In Agamben’s theorization of camp it was seen more as a refugee camp, it wasn’t just. People are treated as slaves.

In my opinion I believe that indefinite detention in Canada is unjust and wrong for that natter. I understand there are national security precautions that the Government must seize, but to hold one of his or her rights because of “liabilities/concerns” is not right. When non-citizens are detained against no alleged crime and are being detained for no apparent reason it takes away from what Canada promotes on democracy and human rights. However, I also believe if they have committed a crime or have done wrong they should be able to take it to court/ trial. To hold someone against their rights it’s morally unjust and something the Canadian democracy and human rights are not about.

References:

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

– Larsen, M. and Justin Piché. Exceptional State, Pragmatic Bureaucracy, and Indefinite Detention: The Case of the Kingston Immigration Holding Centre.

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Durkheim: Crime Will Always Be In Existence

In this weeks food for thought, readings focus on Durkheim and his theory that crime is normal and a part of society. “Durkheim was mostly concerned with social solidarity, or how society is held together: What is it about human society with its ever more complex interrelationships, structures, and institutions which ensures not only its continuity and cohesion but also it’s transformations? (Pavlich, 2011, p.73).

According to Durkheim, he believed in “societies being held together by shared values, and economic interdependence. There is always, according to Durkheim, the possibility of a collapse of society if its values are not constantly reaffirmed and passed on from one generation to another. Therefore, the maintenance of values is a crucial ‘function’ of society. However, people do not always follow this collective conscience – they are naturally self-seeking and prefer to look after their own interests at the expense of others. What stops them is the law and learning from the institutions such as the education system the idea of collective conscience, and primary socialization of the family. The law is the weaker of the two-socialization agencies. Far stronger is the pervasive ‘self control’ that we all learn. However, in periods of great social strain or dramatic change, the power of the collective conscience is weakened.” (P.Covington. (1999). Deviance: Functionalist Explanations. In. Retrieved undefined, from http://www.sociology.org.uk/pcfcri95.pdf.)

Durkheim explains that we may have rules and laws but we all come from different backgrounds and have different morals.  Meaning, society and is rules will never comply; crime will always be in existence. Each and every person is different, thus our mind sets and the way we comprehend law is different. People may agree with each or its either the law does not comply with people’s morals.

I believe that Durkheim is correct. We are surrounded by crime. Crime is inevitable and a normal aspect of social life. I believe crime is inevitable because not every member in our society can share the same values and moral beliefs as the rest of society. Since each of us are exposed to different influenced and circumstances, it is impossible for all of us to be alike, therefore not everyone is scared to break the law or in some cases scared to break the law.

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The Law? Or to Uphold The Status Quo?

This weeks readings focus on the approach to sociological jurisprudence and the few realist scholars and their approaches to law. Our question for this weeks food for thought was to explore whether the purpose of law, particularly judicial decision making, is to preserve the status quo.

In our case study this week, Buck v. Bell, Oliver Wendell Holmes (1841- 1935) was a Supreme Court Judge in the United States and a founder of realism. In the case, the State of Virginia gave a court verdict against Carrie Buck, an 18-year-old female who was an institutionalized “feeble minded white woman” and gave birth to illegitimate feeble- minded (underdeveloped) child. Holmes states, “three generations of imbeciles are enough” (Pavlich, 2011, p. 57) However, never the less, society thought that this was normal, and that it was the right thing to do. Why? According to society it was the “status quo”. “Experience has shown that heredity plays an important part in the transmission of insanity, imbecility, etc’s; moreover, the statue allows for the ‘superintendents’ of some institutions to have patience with hereditary forms of insanity, imbecility, etc.’ ‘sexually sterilized’.” Holmes had based his decision on the status quo. He believed that his decision making was superior and correct because it’s what society thought was right or how they’d say “normal”.

I believe that the purpose of law especially in making judicial decision-making is not based on having to uphold the status quo.  However, I do believe that society makes a difference within making judicial decisions. We see a change in fashion, music, brands and just like society we see a social changes within.

It is clear that the law is separate from what pleases society or what that status quo may be. I believe laws are a set of rules that uphold society which society must follow.  If our leaders were to base judicial decision-making on the status quo, our rules and laws would be changing frequently therefore causing instability.

Don’t get me wrong. There are some positives in relation to the status quo. The status quo could help within some rules and laws changing, especially if people have differences of opinions towards the law. When social changes occur, we tend to follow what we think is “in” or what to us seems normal or in some cases just. Throughout history laws and rules were made and changed, as society also changes. For example, Abortion was illegal in Canada until 1969 when the Canadian Parliament passed a law that allowed abortion in certain circumstances. In 1988 the Supreme Court of Canada got rid of abortion laws and legalized abortion. Abortion laws were changed because society felt that the laws were taking women’s rights from them. Back in the day abortion was seen as something wrong, but as society changed, and we have more rules that protect us, the law to changed. “There has always been a clear recognition of a public interest in the protection of the unborn and there is no evidence or indication of general acceptance of the concept of abortion at will in our society. The interpretive approach to the Charter adopted by this court affords no support for the entrenchment of a constitutional right of abortion.” (LifeCanada/VieCanada. (2012). AbortionInCanada.Ca. In AbortionInCanada.Ca. Retrieved undefined, from http://www.abortionincanada.ca/history/legal_abortion_canada.html.)

With that in mind, it goes to show that our laws reflect the best interest in its citizens. With that said, I still believe that laws and judicial decision making is not based on having to uphold the status quo because there is no pleasing everyone. If the rules and laws were to please everyone there wouldn’t be laws.

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