IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Login to save this paper or follow this series

Law after the welfare state: formalism, functionalism and the ironic turn of reflexive law

  • Zumbansen, Peer
Registered author(s):

    This paper analyzes the contemporary emergence of neo-formalist and neo-functionalist approaches to law-making at a time when the state is seeking to reassert, reformulate and reconceptualize its regulatory competence, both domestically and transnationally. While the earlier turn to alternative regulation modes, conceptualized under the heading of “legal pluralism,” “responsive law,” or “reflexive law” in the 1970s and 1980s, had aimed at a more socially responsive, contextualized, and ultimately learning mode of legal intervention, the contemporary revival of functionalist jurisprudence and its reliance on “social norms” embraces a limitation model of legal regulation. After revisiting the Legal Realist critique of Formalism and the formulation of functionalist regulation as a progressive agenda, this paper reflects on both the American and German justifications of market regulation and the Welfare State in order to trace the different evolution towards ‘responsive law’ and legal pluralism in the U.S. and ‘post-interventionist’ and ‘reflexive’ law in Germany. This comparison allows for an identification of the emerging transnational qualities of legal normativity in the face of a declining welfare state paradigm, which - at the beginning of the 21st century - appears to provide the stage for turning the progressive gains of the former era into a set of market-oriented justifications of private autonomy and de-regulation. - Der Aufsatz rekonstruiert die wechselhafte Geschichte des Rechts nach dem Wohlfahrtsstaat“. Nachdem die Krise des Wohlfahrtsstaats in den 1970er Jahren vornehmlich als eine Frage der Regulierungs- und Steuerungskrise wahrgenommen wurde, traten „responsive“ und „reflexive“ Rechtstheorien gleichzeitig als Erben und Zerstörer des Rechts als Steuerungsmittel auf. Die Suche nach „Alternativen zum Recht“ in den USA wie auch in Deutschland mündete aber schon bald in eine weitreichende Privatisierungs- und Deregulierungsbewegung. Die sich schon lange ankündigende Skepsis nicht nur gegenüber parlamentarischer Gesetzgebung, sondern auch gerichtlicher Rechts(fort)bildung im Namen der Selbstregulierungskräfte der „Privatrechtsgesellschaft“ durch den Markt und „social norms“ verstärkte diese Kritik am Staat diesseits und jenseits des Atlantik. Der Aufsatz geht vor diesem Hintergrund der Frage nach, inwiefern die gegenwärtige Betonung gesellschaftlicher Selbstregulierung die Kritik der Rechtsrealisten und der frühen Rechtssoziologie am Rechtsformalismus aufgreift, nur um sie im Namen von Marktfreiheiten zu verkürzen und ihres kritischen Potentials beraubt.

    If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    Paper provided by University of Bremen, Collaborative Research Center 597: Transformations of the State in its series TranState Working Papers with number 82.

    in new window

    Date of creation: 2009
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:zbw:sfb597:82
    Contact details of provider: Postal: Parkallee 39, 28209 Bremen
    Phone: 0421/218-4362
    Fax: 0421/218-7540
    Web page:

    More information through EDIRC

    No references listed on IDEAS
    You can help add them by filling out this form.

    This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

    When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:zbw:sfb597:82. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (ZBW - German National Library of Economics)

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

    If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.