Subjectivation and Cohesion

Towards the Reconstruction of a Materialist Theory of Law


On the basis of a reconstruction of legal theory in the tradition of Marx – a current that has been more or less silenced since the end of the 1970s – Subjectivation and Cohesion develops a critical counter-pole to the theories of law that predominate in social theory today.

To this end, the works of Franz Neumann, Otto Kirchheimer, Evgeny Pashukanis, Oskar Negt, Isaac D. Balbus, the so-called 'State-derivation School', Antonio Gramsci, Nicos Poulantzas and Michel Foucault are first analysed for their strengths and weaknesses, and then combined to form a new construction: a materialist legal theory that is up to date and can avoid the shortcomings of existing theories – above all their disregard for gender relations and the reductive consequences of functionalist, economic or politicist approaches to law. This book was originally published in German as Subjektivierung und Kohäsion. Zur Rekonstruktion einer materialistischen Theorie des Rechts, by Velbrück Wissenschaft, 2007, ISBN 978-3-938808-29-0.

Prices from (excl. shipping):

Add to Cart
Sonja Buckel, Ph.D. (1969), Kassel University, is Professor of Political Theory and chair of the Association for Critical Social Research (AkG). She is a lawyer and political scientist and has published on legal theory, European migration policy and critical social theory.
"The book is rich with conceptual insights and deftly assesses important debates about law that have often eluded mainstream Anglo-American legal theorists, whose primary focal point has been the longstanding dispute between legal naturalists and positivists. Buckel’s careful study crosses geographical and disciplinary boundaries by contextualizing Marxist debates about law with the broader aim of laying the groundwork for a materialist theory of law. [...] Subjectivation and Cohesion is a well-researched and original contribution to the latest renaissance of Marxist scholarship in law and politics."
-- Igor Shoikhedbrod, in New Political Science, 23 October 2021
Preface to the English Edition


Part 1 A Self-reproduction or Self-organisation?

1 Introduction to Part 1

2 The Self-reproduction of the Legal System: Luhmann/Teubner
 1 Niklas Luhmann: Law as a System
 2 Gunther Teubner: the Hypercycle of Law
 3 Critique

3 Social Self-organisation: Habermas
 1 Money, Power, Solidarity
 2 The System of Rights
 3 Critique

4 The End and the Beginning

Part 2 ReConstructing Materialist Legal Theory

5 Introduction to Part 2

6 Foundations: The 1920s and 30s
 1 The Constitutional Theories of Neumann and Kirchheimer
 2 Evgeny Pashukanis

7 Renaissance and Crisis of Marxism Since the 1970s
 1 The Tradition of the Legal Form Analysis
 2 The Franco-Italian Theory Strand

Part 3 Reconstruction: Subjectivation and Cohesion

8 Introduction to Part 3

9 Extended Relationships of Forces
 1 Totality
 2 Relational Rights and Powers

10 Subjectivation

11 Hegemony
 1 Hegemonic Government
 2 Routine Repetition

12 The Legal Form
 1 Society – a Precarious Hegemonic Project
 2 The Concept of Form

13 The Institutionalisation of the Legal Form
 1 Institutions – a Lower Level of Abstraction
 2 On the Relationship of Law and State

Part 4 Self-government

14 Introduction to Part 4

15 The Emancipatory Potential of Law
 1 Formal Recognition
 2 A Technology of Knowledge
 3 Deferral of Power

16 The Extension of Democracy
 1 Leaving the Juridical Concept of Democracy
 2 A Counter-Hegemonic Democratic Project
 3 The Democratisation of the Law

Scholars, students, practitioners of law and social sciences interested in critical legal studies and materialist social theory.
  • Collapse
  • Expand