Functional differentiation and mediated unity in question
Looming constitutional conflicts between the de-centralist logic of functional diff erentiation and the bio-political steering of austerity and global governance
in Critical theory and sociological theory
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The election outcomes of a given national political system are frequently rendered inconsequential through the strategic interventions of the Troika and other agencies of transnational governance. Populist responses to austerity and related measures can be understood as ultimately futile attempts to compensate for the erosion of effective mediation between citizens and the state. More specifically, social democratic parties and trade unions can no longer mediate in the ways they could do so in the recent past. The implication is that going forward, new representative institutions will be needed to play the crucial role of complementing the formal mechanisms of democratic statehood. Like most other forms of state, liberal democracy attempts to politically constitute society. But liberal democracy does this as the closest known equivalent to what would be a functionally differentiated state without need of a governing functional differentiation party. Far from being the culminating point in a movement towards ‘the end of history’, the liberal democratic state of law was and remains a transitional state with vast potential to evolve in new directions.

Critical theory and sociological theory

On late modernity and social statehood

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