Critical Theory of Legal Revolutions: Evolutionary Perspectives (Critical Theory and Contemporary Society)

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9781441178640: Critical Theory of Legal Revolutions: Evolutionary Perspectives (Critical Theory and Contemporary Society)

This unique work analyzes the crisis in modern society, building on the ideas of the Frankfurt School thinkers. Emphasizing social evolution and learning processes, it argues that crisis is mediated by social class conflicts and collective learning, the results of which are embodied in constitutional and public law.

First, the work outlines a new categorical framework of critical theory in which it is conceived as a theory of crisis. It shows that the Marxist focus on economy and on class struggle is too narrow to deal with the range of social conflicts within modern society, and posits that a crisis of legitimization is at the core of all crises. It then discusses the dialectic of revolutionary and evolutionary developmental processes of modern society and its legal system.

This volume in the Critical Theory and Contemporary Society by a leading scholar in the field provides a new approach to critical theory that will appeal to anyone studying political sociology, political theory, and law.

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About the Author:

Hauke Brunkhorst is Professor of Sociology and Head of the Institute of Sociology at the University of Flensburg, Germany. Previously, he was the Theodor Heuss Professor at the New School for Social Research in New York, USA. A political sociologist, he has authored many books, including Adorno and Critical Theory (1999) and Solidarity: From Civic Friendship to a Global Legal Community (2005).

Review:

This is an impressive book. It is only once or twice in every decade that a book appears which has the potential to fundamentally change our perspective on society: this book belongs to that category. -- Poul F. Kjaer, Copenhagen Business School, Denmark * Journal of Law and Society * Critical Theory of Legal Revolutions is a provocative and timely work of great importance to anyone interested in legal development, constitutionalism, the dynamics of globalization and the social conflicts that trigger and are triggered by these. Brunkhorst argues that struggles over power, prestige, and position in multiple social domains trigger legitimacy crises that have revolutionary as well as long term evolutionary effects. The thesis is demonstrated through comprehensive, systematic historical analysis that ranges from the papal revolution of the 12th century to the egalitarian world revolution of our time. This is a must read for critical social theorists in every discipline. * Jean L.Cohen, Nell and Herbert Singer Professor of Conemporary Civilization and Political Science, Columbia University, USA * Hauke Brunkhorst has resumed the work of critical social theory in a commanding style. In the tradition of Hegel, Marx, and Lukacs he seeks the objective possibilities with utopian implications, in the midst of constitutional and legal development, in his view ultimately structured by revolutions. He interprets the last legal revolution, the one in the post World War II epoch, as opening up the possibility of the complementary development of cosmopolitan and nation state identities. According to Brunkhorst it is the task of critical theory to uncover and support this new, revolutionary alternative. * Andrew Arato, Dorothy Hirshon Professor in Political and Social Theory, New School for Social Research, US * A fresh look at the social evolution of modern law since the `papal revolution' of the 11th century. The theoretical achievement of this path-breaking is the critical synopsis of observable increases in the complexity of social systems on one side, participant's socio-cognitive and moral learning processes on the other side. * Jurgen Habermas * Hauke Brunkhorst's brilliant new book overflows with theoretical insight, historical research and enlightened political radicalism. It conceptualises how moments of freedom and equality are both preserved and universalized within constitutional revolutions and it takes issue with reductive forms of thought that only consider law's disfigurements. In his refusal to discount normative progress, Brunkhorst brings to critical legal scholarship a distinctive, bold and fresh intellect. * Robert Fine, Emeritus Professor, Department of Sociology, University of Warwick, UK *

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