Law as Politics : Four Relations

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Etxabe , J 2020 , ' Law as Politics : Four Relations ' , Law, culture and the humanities , vol. 16 , no. 1 , pp. 24-41 .

Title: Law as Politics : Four Relations
Author: Etxabe , Julen
Contributor organization: Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies
Date: 2020
Language: eng
Number of pages: 18
Belongs to series: Law, culture and the humanities
ISSN: 1743-8721
Abstract: In a 2006 article, Duncan Kennedy identifies politics as the central dilemma of contemporary legal thought, but affirms that law is non-reducible to politics, which could be read as a partial retraction from the known coda “law is politics.” This essay suggests an interpretation of his refusal to conflate law and politics not in terms of disavowal, or a way of distancing politics from law, but as an attempt to carve out a space from where to think of the relational aspect between law and politics. This becomes necessary due to a current phenomenon which Pierre Schlag calls “dedifferentiation,” where no distinction—and hence no relation—seems to be possible between law and other spheres of life. Opposing that conclusion, this article contends that engendering relations allows us to keep the terms connected in relative motion. The essay then moves to describe four distinct modes of framing the relation between law and politics, which gives rise to very different disciplinary projects: law as politics, dating back to the legal realist movement; law as political science, which finds its current expression in empirical and quantitative research; law as political philosophy, generated by a renewed interest in “the political”; and law as political contingent, growing out of a similar interest but challenging the boundary-setting ambitions of philosophy. While the latter has not yet been adequately translated into law, I suggest as an alternative the work of Jacques Rancière, which declines to grant an aura of invincible ubiquity to any totalizing description, including neoliberalism’s attempt to present itself as a world system.
Subject: 513 Law
Duncan Kennedy
legal realism
New Legal Realism
Empirical Legal Studies
political philosophy
517 Political science
611 Philosophy
Peer reviewed: Yes
Rights: cc_by_nc_sa
Usage restriction: openAccess
Self-archived version: publishedVersion

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