From Homophony to Polyphony: Law and Music a Consonant Duet for Future Legal Thinking and Practice?


  • Felicity Adams Keele University



This paper examines the extent to which the law should mirror music as a discipline that embraces the value of community in the diverse sense in order to accommodate difference. The paper advocates that the law should shift from privileging community in the unified, singular sense in order to champion community in the collective sense, so that the law may genuinely support the inclusion of a diverse range of identities.To this end, the paper emphasises the importance for the law to embed the value of ‘community’ in the Derridean sense into its approach to embrace the innate differences between identities. The paper argues that at present the operation of ‘community’ in the Derridean sense is prevented by its discordant relationship with the formalist legal approach. This approach privileges the closure of the law above accommodating the values of diversity and possibility, which are central to the Derridean conception of ‘community’. Subsequently, the paper supports Ramshaw’s thesis that a reciprocal relationship between the law and music should be established in order to facilitate a shift from dominant legal thinking and praxis in order to promote ‘community’ in the Derridean sense. This paper concludes by supporting music as a powerful instrument to emancipate the law from its formalist tendencies, and ultimately to enable the value of ‘community’ in the Derridean sense to be harmoniously embedded into future legal thinking.