Mediated unity in question
On the relation between law, politics, and other social systems in modern societies
in Critical theory and sociological theory
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Chapter 2 examines the theoretical, practical, and historical incongruities between presupposed mediated unity, on the one hand, and the sociological reality of functional differentiation, on the other. It is explained that there is a widespread inclination amongst expert theorists and the lay public alike to imagine political authority as having a pyramidal structure culminating in the state. The factual differentiation of social-systemic operations stands in stark contrast with prevailing normative conceptions of constituent power based on the mediated unity of citizens and the state. When the sociological fact of functional differentiation does happen to be recognised by scholars, they frequently accept the currently existing hegemonic model of functional differentiation as somehow natural or inevitable. This tendency manifests itself when supposed experts casually assume that privatisation and outsourcing are efficient responses to the need to respect the differentiation of economic, political, and legal social systems. The dynamics of politicisation and democratisation need to be reconsidered without relying on casual assumptions about mediated unity, ethnic unity, national unity, constituent power, or popular sovereignty.

Critical theory and sociological theory

On late modernity and social statehood


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