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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

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Darrow Schecter

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

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Critical theory and legal autopoiesis

The case for societal constitutionalism

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Gunther Teubner

Edited by: 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.

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Critical theory and sociological theory

On late modernity and social statehood

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Darrow Schecter

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.

Open Access (free)

When the Music Stops

Humanitarianism in a Post-Liberal World Order

Stephen Hopgood

injecting a large dose of liberalism into their outlook’ ( Barry, 1990 : 11). When faced with Trump, Xi Jinping, Orban, Erdogan, Putin, Assad, Duterte, non-liberals all, how can the argument for neutrality be successful? They see opponents not as legitimate competitors protected by a set of institutional rules that limit the scope of conflict but as threats to be eliminated. Chantal Mouffe differentiates ‘the political’ from ‘politics’: the political is the sphere of existential conflict over the nature of the state where the most basic

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Mediated unity in question

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

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Darrow Schecter

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

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Political careers

The making of a regional political class in itself

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Klaus Stolz

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

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Klaus Stolz

functional differentiation. Second, it is meant to enhance our conceptual grasp and theoretical understanding of the dynamic interrelation between political professionalisaton and political institutions on the regional level. As a major instrument in this process, the concept of political class (see below) is introduced and adapted to the regional level. Doing so, in turn, is meant to demonstrate its analytical validity and to further sharpen it as an analytical tool. Last but not least, the study is meant to considerably M1870 - STOLZ TEXT.indd 3 20/8/09 11:50:55 4

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Darrow Schecter

, 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

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Klaus Stolz

professionalisation that is only slightly below that of the central state level. No doubt, in Catalonia and Scotland the territorial and the functional differentiation of politics have come together in their most pronounced form. However, despite these similarities with regard to the general pattern, the concrete concurrence of these processes in Catalonia and Scotland also differs in many respects. The first major difference regards the basis of regional identity. While both cases are confined to the civic, territorially based variety of regionalism rather than employing any ethnic

Open Access (free)

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Eric Shaw

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