Critiquing Free Speech: First Amendment Theory and the Challenge of Interdisciplinarity

By Matthew D. Bunker | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 7
Shall We Commit First Amendment Theory?

Above all, those who practice self-ratifying discourse are attracted to what they regard as interdisciplinarity, conceived not as the actual practice of a second discipline but as the duty-free importing of terms and concepts from some source of broad wisdom about history or epistemology or the structure of the mind. This is of course not inter-disciplinarity at all but antidisciplinarity, a holiday from the methodological constraints that prevail in any given field.

Frederick Crews1

Although the authors and schools of thought explored in this book have been many and varied, there are some common themes worthy of discussion. This chapter will touch on some key issues of interdisciplinarity in First Amendment theory and make some schematic suggestions for doing First Amendment theory in a more satisfactory way. At the risk of some repetition, I want to revisit briefly some particularly important points made in earlier chapters and sketch a few ideas for how those points might shape future theorizing. In particular, I wish to provide at least a general outline for a method of First Amendment theorizing that can draw upon interdisciplinary insights without losing claim to the rubric law. No rea-

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1
Frederick Crews, The End of the Poststructuralist Era, in The Emperor Redressed: Critiquing Critical Theory 52 (Dwight Eddins ed., 1995).

-182-

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