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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.

A conceptual history 1200–1900

This collection explores how concepts of intellectual or learning disability evolved from a range of influences, gradually developing from earlier and decidedly distinct concepts, including ‘idiocy’ and ‘folly’, which were themselves generated by very specific social and intellectual environments. With essays extending across legal, educational, literary, religious, philosophical, and psychiatric histories, this collection maintains a rigorous distinction between historical and contemporary concepts in demonstrating how intellectual disability and related notions were products of the prevailing social, cultural, and intellectual environments in which they took form, and themselves performed important functions within these environments. Focusing on British and European material from the middle ages to the late nineteenth century, this collection asks ‘How and why did these concepts form?’ ‘How did they connect with one another?’ and ‘What historical circumstances contributed to building these connections?’ While the emphasis is on conceptual history or a history of ideas, these essays also address the consequences of these defining forces for the people who found themselves enclosed by the shifting definitional field.

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-consolidate the bases of the liberal world-view in the face of contemporary socio-political realities, but it is not. It will be useful for the reader if I state at the outset that the present study is guided by the idea that the path beyond liberalism and liberal democratic versions of the Enlightenment starts with an examination of the fundamental tenets underpinning the juridical bases of liberal epistemology. The book seeks to

in Beyond hegemony
Liberating human agency from liberal legal form

state institutions. For Hegel’s critics, it is ideology, not philosophy. This materialist critique of law as ideology marks the start of a more generic critique of the liberal conceptions of juridical epistemology and the just relations between legality and legitimacy. With regard to Hegel and Marx, the precise nature of the civil– political division is an issue of considerable complexity, and for the purpose of clarity it is

in Beyond hegemony

and legitimacy except in terms of apology and ideology. There is also a paradox implied by the second strand, since a condition of knowledge (reconciliation) is put forward as a result of the knowledge process (reconciliation) 1 . Restating this problem, which is sometimes referred to in philosophy as the hermeneutic circle, helps clarify the relation between epistemology and politics that is insistently pursued throughout

in Beyond hegemony

anti-juridical argument. It is initially made with great clarity and far-reaching implications by Marx and Nietzsche, and is subsequently taken up in detail by Weber, Freud, critical theory, Foucault and many other thinkers and activists. Hence one can compare legitimate law that reconciles humanity and nature on the basis of non-instrumental knowledge, on the one hand, with illegitimate law that regulates humanity and nature on the basis

in Beyond hegemony
Limiting human agency in the name of negative liberty

philosopher of the liberal project. There are a number of reasons for choosing Kant as the first key representative of modern liberalism. Kant sets out the political and philosophical components of the liberal project in terms of law and epistemology in a way that contemporary liberals may choose to disagree with but cannot ignore. Like Locke before him, Kant is a philosopher of knowledge who draws out the political and legal implications

in Beyond hegemony
On mediated unity and overarching legal-political form

public, individually endowed with economic self-​sufficiency and rational self-​control, that can exert the requisite political pressure for positively enacted law to integrate ethical and epistemological principles into its statutes. The subversive dimension of Kantian epistemology can be found in his insistence that the conditions of possible experience are the same for all human beings. He argues further that this universality is politically relevant when codified in juridical form. Legality in Kant can be interpreted as both the condition of the possibility of

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

of those premises is developed further in this chapter, in which the presumption of mediated unity and overarching legal-​political form is contrasted with the FD of law, politics, and other social systems frequently observed in modern society. The stress on law and politics serves to examine the widespread belief that citizen access to the state via the law distinguishes democracies from other state forms. Questions are thereby raised about what is taken to be the inherently political-​juridical bond obtaining between autonomous citizens and post

in Critical theory and sociological theory
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ways in which power is divided and shared. Perhaps most significantly for the argument about the changing composition of statehood developed in subsequent chapters, they affect the mediations between the various economic, educational, juridical, and cultural elements of democracy. In more speculative terms, then, the book explores the possibility that new mediating and representative institutions are emerging, and that these institutions could provide the impetus for a gradual transition from political to social statehood. It is somewhat difficult to assess the

in Critical theory and sociological theory