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Critical Theory in Critical TimesTransforming the Global Political and Economic Order$
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Penelope Deutscher and Cristina Lafont

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780231181518

Published to Columbia Scholarship Online: January 2019

DOI: 10.7312/columbia/9780231181518.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM COLUMBIA SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.columbia.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of Minnesota Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CUPSO for personal use.date: 26 September 2021

Law and Domination

Law and Domination

(p.117) 6 Law and Domination
Critical Theory in Critical Times

Christoph Menke

Columbia University Press

The program of Marx’s social critique of law is to reveal the social logic of law, the structural nexus between its normative content and the basic forms of social domination. In this chapter, Menke sketches a critique of the social critique of law. He argues that the fundamental premises of Marx’s legal theory lead him to reduce bourgeois law to private law, neglecting the separate and equiprimordial formation of social law. His alternative proposal is a conception according to which the tension between private and social law is constitutive of the bourgeois legal formation. This conception allows us to understand the law in bourgeois society as not only the “different form” of social domination but also the object, medium, and scene of a struggle of antagonistic relations of power.

Keywords:   Marx, social critique of law, social domination, private law, social law, subjective rights

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