The King's Many Bodies: The Self-Deconstruction of Law's Hierarchy
Law and Society Review, Vol. 31, pp. 763-787, 1997
25 Pages Posted: 4 Apr 2006 Last revised: 8 Sep 2009
Date Written: 1997
The article connects two strands of the recent sociolegal debate: (1) the empirical discovery of new forms of spontaneous law in the course of globalization, and (2) the emergence of deconstructive theories of law that undermine the law's hierarchy. The article puts forward the thesis that law's hierarchy has successfully resisted all old and new attempts at its deconstruction; it breaks, however, under the pressures of globalization that produced a global law without the state, as self-created law of global society that has no institutionalized support whatsoever in international politics and public international law. Consequently, the article criticizes deconstructive theories for their lack of autological analysis. These theories do not take into account the historical conditions of deconstruction. Accordingly, deconstructive analysis of law would have to look for new legal distinctions that are plausible under the new conditions of a doubly fragmented global society. The article sketches the contours of an emerging polycontextural law.
Keywords: legal theory, system theory
JEL Classification: K10, K40
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation