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
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
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
Ontologies of borders:
the difference of Deleuze and Derrida
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
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
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
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
Franz Kafka on the (im)possibility of Law’s self-reflection
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
[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
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’
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 ).