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Looming constitutional conflicts between the de-centralist logic of functional diff erentiation and the bio-political steering of austerity and global governance

3 Functional differentiation and mediated unity in question: looming constitutional conflicts between the de-​centralist logic of functional differentiation and the bio-​political steering of austerity and global governance It has been seen so far that the theoretical premises informing prevailing accounts of modern statehood and political representation have become susceptible to comprehensive critique and deconstruction. This is not to argue that states no longer exist or have ceased to be important actors in domestic and international politics. In many parts

in Critical theory and sociological theory
The case for societal constitutionalism
Editor: Diana Göbel

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.

On late modernity and social statehood

Populism, neoliberalism, and globalisation are just three of the many terms used to analyse the challenges facing democracies around the world. Critical Theory and Sociological Theory examines those challenges by investigating how the conditions of democratic statehood have been altered at several key historical intervals since 1945. The author explains why the formal mechanisms of democratic statehood, such as elections, have always been complemented by civic, cultural, educational, socio-economic, and, perhaps most importantly, constitutional institutions mediating between citizens and state authority. Critical theory is rearticulated with a contemporary focus in order to show how the mediations between citizens and statehood are once again rapidly changing. The book looks at the ways in which modern societies have developed mixed constitutions in several senses that go beyond the official separation of legislative, executive, and judicial powers. In addition to that separation, one also witnesses a complex set of conflicts, agreements, and precarious compromises that are not adequately defined by the existing conceptual vocabulary on the subject. Darrow Schecter shows why a sociological approach to critical theory is urgently needed to address prevailing conceptual deficits and to explain how the formal mechanisms of democratic statehood need to be complemented and updated in new ways today.

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, and as Hegel tries to demonstrate, the state and statehood have always been simultaneously concrete and conceptual. Chapter 1 examines his dialectical line of argument. The third and related claim can be introduced by noting that one of the defining features of modern society is the evolution of social forms into social systems. This development is analysed here in relation to the functional differentiation (henceforth FD) of economic, political, legal, educational, and other systems. For the purposes of this book, then, sociological theory is really concerned with

in Critical theory and sociological theory
On the relation between law, politics, and other social systems in modern societies

notions of neutrality, merit, and expertise can be shown to be problematic in this regard, it can be convincingly argued that access to schools and universities, health care, legal rights, and rewarding work is never really equal (critique of the currently prevailing protection of rights). Hence it becomes important to see where, exactly, the mediations between law, neutrality, and equality become strained in the everyday life of people in functionally differentiated societies. These preliminary remarks serve to highlight some of the ambiguities in the specifically

in Critical theory and sociological theory
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The making of a regional political class in itself

3 Political careers: the making of a regional political class in itself In the first part of the empirical analysis the focus is on the political class as a dependent variable and remains restricted to its structural dimension as a class ‘in itself’. It is asked whether the concurrent processes of regionalisation and political professionalisation in Catalonia and Scotland have led to the emergence of a regional political class as constituted by the existence of professional politicians (functional differentiation) with a common regional career orientation

in Towards a regional political class?

trade unions have not dominated the Labour Party lies in the ‘playing of different roles’ in a system of functional differentiation (Minkin 1991: 26). Along with the ‘rules’, role is a central organising concept in Minkin’s work. A role comprises ‘a cluster of norms that applies to any single unit of social interaction’ (see Haas and Drabek 1973: 110–1). In other words, the role of, say, a trade union member of the NEC comprises the various norms and conventions attached to it. Role theory posits that role-holders will behave in accordance with role requirements – as

in Interpreting the Labour Party
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The cosmological frame in anthropology

to a whole. The holistic principle of structural integration, in other words, went hand in hand with a notion of functional differentiation. The third consequence of the reflexive ethnocentrism of classical takes on indigenous cosmology has to do with the hierarchical way in which it ordered different perspectives on the world, and particularly the ­superiority it accorded to the cosmological project of the anthropologists at the expense of those of the people they study. For, if what holds the basic image together is the idea of a single and uniform world that

in Framing cosmologies
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The anthropology of worlds

This book reflects the full diversity of the spirit of cosmological experimentation as an analytical impulse on the part of the anthropologist and as an ethnographic observation about the people anthropologists study. The first part of the book addresses the ways in which fresh anthropological interest in cosmology problematises traditional conceptions of holism understood as a 'totalising' discourse. The second part shows that cosmology can be seen as a functionally differentiated and distinct part of the total social order to be studied alongside other parts, including kinship, economy or politics. It shines light on the varied imbrications of cosmological concerns with political and economic practices in particular. The third part focuses on the ways in which social phenomena that a classically inclined anthropology would designate as 'modern' areas cosmologically embedded (indeed saturated) as any 'pre-modern' society ever was. It shows how the cosmological constitution of political economies is particularly bound up with the breakdown of classical dichotomies between modern science and pre-modern cosmologies. The book also reveals the abiding role that different technological forms play in sustaining cosmological concerns at the heart of contemporary life in the West. It broaches the strong affinity between cinema and cosmology in an analysis of two films concerned with the origin of humanity.

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Democratic state, capitalist society, or dysfunctional differentiation?

live in a modern, dynamic, functionally differentiated society in which progressive innovation in 200 Critical theory and sociological theory one system is accompanied by regression in another. Social systems divide and converge; questions of race, class, and gender –​to name but the most prominent –​are all related and yet also distinct. Some of the theoretical and empirical literature on intersectionality is very adept at illuminating some of the issues at stake. It reinforces the point that it is entirely possible for the same individual to be confronted with

in Critical theory and sociological theory