Duncan Kennedy argues that an American radicalism is both possible and desirable. One base for radical politics is the big institutional workplace; another is popular culture—whence his emphasis on phenomena like sexy dressing. Kennedy’s aim is to wed the rebelliousness, irony, and irrationalism of cultural modernism and postmodernism to the earnestness of political correctness.
What these essays have in common, besides wit and provocative argument, is Kennedy’s understanding that we come to know the world based upon situational perspectives and lifestyles.
Kennedy’s book offers a dazzling one-man show with many voices. It reveals a man of the left, without a trace of puritanism or ideological correctness; a blithe and antic spirit, with a wholly serious program for critical scholars and activists of promoting freedom through small, local, practical acts of analysis, reimagination, resistance, and organization.
Duncan Kennedy is Carter Professor of General Jurisprudence, Emeritus, at Harvard Law School.