Critical Legal Theory

1st Edition

Costas Douzinas, Colin Perrin

Published December 14, 2011
Reference - 1540 Pages
ISBN 9780415486736 - CAT# Y008791
Series: Critical Concepts in Law


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Critical Legal Theory has conventionally been traced to the social, political, and philosophical movements of the 1960s and, before that, to the early-twentieth-century ‘realist’ critique of modern jurisprudence. In truth, however, its origins go back to classical and pre-modern thought, and to their acknowledgement of the centrality of law in attempts to conceive of the good life, or the just polity—a centrality that is, moreover, also discernible in the recent gravitation of a number of contemporary philosophers and theorists (such as Habermas, Derrida, Agamben, Luhmann, Latour) towards law.

Against the ‘restricted’ and ‘conservative’ character of modern jurisprudence, Critical Legal Theory constitutes a return to this more general interest in law and legality. Exceeding (if not exploding) the limits of jurisprudence, it has, moreover, drawn upon the most ancient and most contemporary traditions of critical thought in order to pursue new ways of understanding, living, and imagining the law.

Critical Legal Theory is now an established—if heterogeneous and controversial—field of study, represented by numerous international journals, regional organizations, and global conferences. As the field continues to flourish as never before, this new title in Routledge’s Major Works series, Critical Concepts in Law, meets the need for an authoritative reference work to make sense of a rapidly growing and ever more complex corpus of literature. Indeed, it is a landmark collection of Critical Legal Theory’s principal sources, orientations, movements, and themes.

The first volume in the collection (‘Critical Legal Origins’) illuminates the foundations of Critical Legal Theory in contemporary continental thought, as well as providing an account of its institutional history. Volume II (‘Critical Legal Orientations’), meanwhile, examines the ways in which Critical Legal Theory has addressed and problematized conventional jurisprudential ideas about law, drawing upon the insights of philosophy, as well as other disciplines. Volume III (‘Critical Legal Movements’) assembles the best and most influential research to provide an overview of the movements that characterize the field. The scholarship assembled in the final volume (‘Critical Legal Themes’) brings together the key work to explore a range of substantial themes with which Critical Legal Theorists have engaged.

Supplemented with a full index and comprehensive introductions, newly written by the editors, which situate the collected material in the context of more general theoretical traditions, as well as in critical relation to jurisprudence, Critical Legal Theory is destined to be valued by scholars, students, and researchers as a vital resource.

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