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The case for societal constitutionalism
Editor: Diana Göbel
Author: Gunther Teubner

This volume collects and revises the key essays of Gunther Teubner, one of the world’s leading sociologists of law. Written over the past twenty years, these essays examine the ‘dark side’ of functional differentiation and the prospects of societal constitutionalism as a possible remedy. Teubner’s claim is that critical accounts of law and society require reformulation in the light of the sophisticated diagnoses of late modernity in the writings of Niklas Luhmann, Jacques Derrida and select examples of modernist literature. Autopoiesis, deconstruction and other post-foundational epistemological and political realities compel us to confront the fact that fundamental democratic concepts such as law and justice can no longer be based on theories of stringent argumentation or analytical philosophy. We must now approach law in terms of contingency and self-subversion rather than in terms of logical consistency and rational coherence.

New theoretical directions

Materiality has long been tied to the political projects of nationalism and capitalism. But how are we to rethink borders in this context? Is the border the limit where the capitalist nation-state, contested and re-created at its centre, becomes fixed? Or is it something else? Is the border something, or does it instead do things? This volume brings questions of materiality to bear specifically on the study of borders. These questions address specifically the shift from ontology to process in thinking about borders. The political materialities of borders does not presume the material aspect of borders but rather explores the ways in which any such materiality comes into being. Through ethnographic and philosophical explorations of the ontology of borders and its limitations from the perspective of materiality, this volume seeks to throw light on the interaction between the materiality of state borders and the non-material aspects of state-making. This enables a new understanding of borders as productive of the politics of materiality, on which both the state project rests, including its multifarious forms in the post-nation-state era.

The mutual paranoia of Jacques Derrida and Niklas Luhmann
Gunther Teubner

I  System versus différance Niklas Luhmann and Jacques Derrida have made the same diagnosis as regards the sober world of lawyers and economists. 1 Where other people observe rational decisions based on cost–benefit calculations and on rule–fact subsumptions, their diagnosis is that of the madness of decision. In contrast to all analyses of rational choice, games theory

in Critical theory and legal autopoiesis
The difference of Deleuze and Derrida
Tuija Pulkkinen

4 Ontologies of borders: the difference of Deleuze and Derrida Tuija Pulkkinen This chapter is about the concept of border. I will not approach border as if I was going to conceptualize something that we already empirically know about, and nor will I concentrate solely on geographical and political borders. Instead, I will take a step back and consider border in an abstract sense: as a separation of one into two dissimilar entities. This means that I will take the study of border into the area of philosophy and, in particular, into problems of ontology and

in The political materialities of borders
Maja Zehfuss

Ferdinand de Saussure’s arguments in order to offer some thoughts on the role of naming in relation to the Kosovo conflict. Naming concerns the relationship of language and reality. Using Jacques Derrida’s thought, the second section argues that the idea of the existence of a reality, which constrains our actions, is itself a representation, which has political implications. The third section explores how

in Mapping European security after Kosovo
Abstract only
Saul Newman

continental philosophy itself has, in recent times, been marked by a general return to the question of ethics. Thinkers such as Derrida and Lyotard, for instance, turned later in their work to more explicit ethical concerns, the former through Levinas, and the latter through Aristotle and Kant. The seeming paradox here is that the postmodern condition, with which such thinkers have been generally associated, is seen to imply a breakdown of moral metanarratives and a decline of the idea of a universal moral position. Instead of Kant’s categorical imperative – in which ethics

in Unstable universalities
Contingency or transcendence formula of law?
Gunther Teubner

of justice appears, if at all, as a political, not as a legal project. So is justice itself, the most profound expectation that people have of the law, the blind spot in the distinction between law and society? Two external observers of law and society, Jacques Derrida and Niklas Luhmann, shed light on this blind spot and ask whether there is something specific that the sociology of law – as compared to

in Critical theory and legal autopoiesis
Franz Kafka on the (im)possibility of Law’s self-reflection
Gunther Teubner

nightmarish logic in Kafka's universe? This is not meant to dispute the validity of the individual perspective in its own right. In complementing it, however, our institutional perspective allows very different things to come to the fore in Kafka's world. I am encouraged in my somewhat far-fetched interpretation by Jacques Derrida's whirlwind of associations concerning Kafka, in which he summons literature

in Critical theory and legal autopoiesis
Anne-Marie Fortier

[C]itizenship is, through and through, precarious, recent, threatened, and more artificial than ever. (Derrida 1998 : 15) Citizenship is uncertain. It is volatile, its boundaries, limits and promises are forever revised, amended and deferred. Citizenship can be bought, taught, fragmented, multiple, probationary, precarious, stripped, disposable, impossible, gifted, strategic, disputed, relinquished, achieved

in Uncertain citizenship
Anne-Marie Fortier

as other languages that challenged, and continue to challenge, global hegemonic English (Bhabha 1994 ; Derrida 1998 ; Hitchcock 2001 ; Brutt-Griffler 2002 ; Chow 2014 ; Gunew 2017 ). Colonial policies and practices around language resulted in a ‘linguicism’  6 that established a hierarchical distinction between the ‘anglicised’ and the ‘English’, where the former were and continue to be ‘ emphatically not English’ (Bhabha, 1994 : 125, emphasis original; also Rosa and Flores 2017 ). Such

in Uncertain citizenship