"The Autonomy of Law: Two Visions Compared"

Michigan Law Authors
Areas of Interest
Publish Date
Autopoietic Law: A New Approach to Law and Society
Publication Type
Book Chapter

During the past decade the effort to understand the place of the legal system in society has, in England and America, given rise to a renewed interest in the possibility of legal autonomy (Thompson, 1975; Balbus, 1973; 1977; Trubek, 1977). More recently, on the continent of Europe, especially in Germany, scholars have focused on an apparently radical form of autonomy — embodied in the idea of an autopoietic system — in an effort to understand how law functions (Luhmann, 1985 d; Teubner, 1984). These two approaches to understanding the legal system paint pictures that have much in common, but they are differently developed; they are supported by different types of arguments and they are advanced at different levels of abstraction.

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