CLS and Marxism: A History of an Affair
Transnational Legal Theory, 2014
15 Pages Posted: 22 Jul 2015 Last revised: 4 Aug 2015
Date Written: July 21, 2015
This essay explores the relationship between the Critical Legal Studies movement and the Marxist tradition. What role did Marxism play in the formation of CLS’s ideological and theoretical horizons? What part was it assigned in the movement’s symbolic economy of discursive projects and practices? What sorts of critical challenges did CLS scholars mount against the Marxist legal-theoretic tradition and what kind of broader lessons can the Marxist tradition extract today from those criticisms? The essay starts by summarising the standard account of the relationship between CLS and Marxism that has historically developed within the CLS’s own internal discourse. It problematises a number of basic assumptions underlying this account before turning its attention to the examination of CLS’s (potential) contribution to the development of a new wave of the Marxist legal-theoretic enterprise.
Keywords: critical legal theory, jurisprudence, legal theory, Marxism and law, Marxist legal theory
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