Editors: Simone Gustafsson, Rebecca Hill & Helen Ngo

In this special issue of AFLJ (Vol 43.1, June 2017), we will present a collection of articles addressing the conceptualisation of difference. The articles will take divergent approaches to thinking difference. For example, through a reading of Francis Ponge and Jacques Derrida, one contributor will propose an inventive concept of difference that renders justice incalculable. In a reading of Henri Bergson’s Creative Evolution, another contributor will propose that sexual difference is re-conceived beyond a model in which there are held to be proper forms of being woman and man, in favour of the idea that the actualizations of sexed specificity are singular. Elizabeth Grosz will discuss her recent thinking on the concept of difference in an interview with Rebecca Hill. For instance, they will debate Grosz’s controversial suggestion that feminist theory has reached its limit with critique and judgment and should focus on conceiving difference as a force of invention that cannot be subjected to judgment. In contrast to Grosz, other scholars in the issue will argue for the fundamental importance of critique as a theoretical tool for destabilising normative identities, such as the predominance of the model of the white man as subject. The contributors will approach difference through engagements with philosophers such as Bergson, Canguilhem, Deleuze, Derrida, Fanon, Grosz, Irigaray and Merleau-Ponty.

While taking divergent approaches to the problem of difference, these articles will come together to raise broader questions on the nature and limits of norms in our social, political, and ethical lives. In doing so, the articles draw broader implications for questions of law and justice. If law is traditionally founded upon a logic of identity or a rule or norm that must be conformed to or recognised, how might a philosophy of difference, which operates not on recognition but on generating new relations, allow for a different kind of thinking of justice?