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

2 Mediated unity in question: on the relation between law, politics, and other social systems in modern societies The discussion in ­chapter  1 shows that two premises are often invoked to articulate the theoretical preconditions of modern democratic statehood. Whilst the mediated unity of the governors and the governed is normally taken to be the basis of rational political representation, overarching legal-​ political form is taken to be the foundation of democratic government and consensual normative integration. The epistemological and sociological critique

in Critical theory and sociological theory
On social systems and societal constitutions

5 Re-​thinking inclusion beyond unity and mediation beyond discretionary steering: on social systems and societal constitutions Previous chapters have looked at the ways in which the evolutionary gains of political modernity and sociological modernity might be symbiotically maintained and further enhanced as the twenty-​first century continues to unfold. Here the term ‘evolutionary’ is evidently not synonymous with peaceful, natural, predominantly consensual, or any other designation that suggests spontaneous progress towards harmoniously agreed norms of

in Critical theory and sociological theory
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
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.

On mediated unity and overarching legal-political form

1 Reconsidering the theoretical preconditions of modern democratic statehood: on mediated unity and overarching legal-​political  form This chapter examines two of the central premises underlying most standard explanations of the construction of modern democratic statehood and its preconditions and raises fundamental questions about their continuing relevance. The presuppositions in question must be deconstructed because they offer an inaccurate account of the rights of citizens and the resources of states in the twenty-​first century. This preliminary work is

in Critical theory and sociological theory
Abstract only
Democratic state, capitalist society, or dysfunctional differentiation?

if they are completely detached and isolated in a condition of permanent separation. The implication is that the relation between differentiated social systems is characterised by mediation, communication, and a form of dialectics which, it has been shown here, is misdiagnosed when described as the inherently democratic dialectics of mediated unity (this does not mean that they must instead be coded in a quantitatively pared-​down, binary fashion). It has also been shown that the dynamics of systemic coup­ ling, de-​coupling, and re-​coupling offer a much more

in Critical theory and sociological theory
Irish republican media activism since the Good Friday Agreement

Newspapers, magazines and pamphlets have always been central, almost sacred, forms of communication within Irish republican political culture. While social media is becoming the primary ideological battleground in many democracies, Irish republicanism steadfastly expresses itself in the traditional forms of activist journalism.

Shinners, Dissos and Dissenters is a long-term analysis of the development of Irish republican activist media since 1998 and the tumultuous years following the end of the Troubles. It is the first in-depth analysis of the newspapers, magazines and online spaces in which the differing strands of Irish republicanism developed and were articulated during a period where schism and dissent defined a return to violence.

Based on an analysis of Irish republican media outlets as well as interviews with the key activists that produced them, this book provides a compelling long-term snapshot of a political ideology in transition. It reveals how Irish Republicanism was moulded by the twin forces of the Northern Ireland Peace Process and the violent internal ideological schism that threatened a return to the ‘bad old days’ of the Troubles.

This book is vital for those studying Irish politics and those interestedin activism as it provides new insights into the role that modern activist media forms have played in the ideological development of a 200-year-old political tradition.

Social and cultural modernity beyond the nation-state

German philosopher Jürgen Habermas has written extensively on the European Union. This is the only in-depth account of his project. Published now in a second edition to coincide with the celebration of his ninetieth birthday, a new preface considers Habermas’s writings on the eurozone and refugee crises, populism and Brexit, and the presidency of Emmanuel Macron.

Placing an emphasis on the conception of the EU that informs Habermas’s political prescriptions, the book is divided into two main parts. The first considers the unfolding of 'social modernity' at the level of the EU. Among the subjects covered are Habermas's concept of juridification, the latter's affinities with integration theories such as neofunctionalism, and the application of Habermas's democratic theory to the EU. The second part addresses 'cultural modernity' in Europe – 'Europessimism' is argued to be a subset of the broader cultural pessimism that assailed the project of modernity in the late twentieth century, and with renewed intensity in the years since 9/11.

Interdisciplinary in approach, this book engages with European/EU studies, critical theory, political theory, international relations, intellectual history, comparative literature, and philosophy. Concise and clearly written, it will be of interest to students, scholars and professionals with an interest in these disciplines, as well as to a broader readership concerned with the future of Europe

Challenges and opportunities

This book explores the evolving African security paradigm in light of the multitude of diverse threats facing the continent and the international community today and in the decades ahead. It challenges current thinking and traditional security constructs as woefully inadequate to meet the real security concerns and needs of African governments in a globalized world. The continent has becoming increasingly integrated into an international security architecture, whereby Africans are just as vulnerable to threats emanating from outside the continent as they are from home-grown ones. Thus, Africa and what happens there, matters more than ever. Through an in-depth examination and analysis of the continent’s most pressing traditional and non-traditional security challenges—from failing states and identity and resource conflict to terrorism, health, and the environment—it provides a solid intellectual foundation, as well as practical examples of the complexities of the modern African security environment. Not only does it assess current progress at the local, regional, and international level in meeting these challenges, it also explores new strategies and tools for more effectively engaging Africans and the global community through the human security approach.

The church as sacred space places the reader at the heart of medieval religious life, standing inside the church with the medieval laity in order to ask what the church meant to them and why. It examines the church as a building, idea, and community, and explores the ways in which the sanctity of the church was crucial to its place at the centre of lay devotion and parish life. At a time when the parish church was facing competition for lay attention, and dissenting movements such as Lollardy were challenging the relevance of the material church, the book examines what was at stake in discussions of sanctity and its manifestations. Exploring a range of Middle English literature alongside liturgy, architecture, and material culture, the book explores the ways in which the sanctity of the church was constructed and maintained for the edification of the laity. Drawing on a wide range of contemporary theoretical approaches, the book offers a reading of the church as continually produced and negotiated by the rituals, performances, and practices of its lay communities, who were constantly being asked to attend to its material form, visual decorations, and significance. The meaning of the church was a dominant question in late-medieval religious culture and this book provides an invaluable context for students and academics working on lay religious experience and canonical Middle English texts.