Frankfurt School Perspectives on Globalization, Democracy, and the Law
William E. Scheuerman
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Frankfurt School Perspectives on Globalization, Democracy, and the Law makes use of the work of first-generation Frankfurt School theorist Franz L. Neumann, in conjunction with his famous successor, Jürgen Habermas, to try to understand the momentous political and legal transformations generated by globalization.
This volume demonstrates that the Frankfurt School tradition speaks directly to some pressing political and social concerns, including globalization, the reform of the welfare state, and the environmental crisis. Despite widespread claims to the contrary, the legal substructure of economic globalization tends to conflict with traditional models of the "rule of law." Neumann’s prediction that contemporary capitalism would decreasingly depend on generality, clarity, publicity, and stability in the law is supported by a surprising variety of empirical evidence. Habermas’s recent work is then interrogated in order to pursue the question of how we might counteract the deleterious trends accurately predicted by Neumann. How might democracy and the rule of law flourish in the context of globalization?
The book is intended for scholars and advanced students in political science, sociology, philosophy and cultural studies.
Economic Globalization and the Rule of Law 41 The left-wing international lawyer David Kennedy is thus in part right when he notes that the emerging international trade regime rests on an “archaic distinction between [the] normal and abnormal.”45 Exceptions to WTO and similar treaties are justified typically by reference to a model of economic “normalcy” in which trade is perfectly unconditional and reciprocal. Yet “abnormal” exceptions never vanish. New products and industries requiring
classical liberal paradigm of law. In the conceptual language I employed earlier in this volume: the process of time and space compression poses a significant challenge to the quest for traditional legal virtues like clarity, prospectiveness, and stability. Although Chapter 9 of Between Facts and Norms has little to say about the globalization of law per se, some of Habermas’ comments astutely anticipate major challenges posed by globalization to law. How then does Habermas’ analysis of this
democracy at the wayside. For this reason, only a third alternative paradigm of law might successfully “illuminate once again the original idea of the self-constitution of a community of free and equal citizens” (393). THE PROCEDURALIST PARADIGM OF LAW As noted, Habermas hopes to overcome the simplistic is/ought methodological dichotomy characteristic of a great deal of legal scholarship by means of the formulation and subsequent application of the concept of a legal paradigm. He also seeks to
paradigms. Last but by no means least, in his discussion of the concept of a legal paradigm itself, Habermas notes that contemporary legal experts are more conscious of their dependence on “implicit images of society” than their historical predecessors, for whom such background assumptions often possessed a nature-like (e.g., ideas of a “naturally” self-regulated market in classical liberalism) or at least a dogmatic form. Radicalizing this growing professional awareness of the relative
ethical, and pragmatic forms of discourse. Rather than revisit familiar philosophical disputes generated by his complicated typology of discourses, let me just raise one skeptical political 162 Frankfurt School Perspectives point. One hardly needs to be a Realist, let alone a protégé of Carl Schmitt, to observe that debates especially about the “existential” matter of war and peace typically represent the most controversial and fundamental of political questions. For precisely this reason,