This blog is hosted on Ideas on EuropeIdeas on Europe Avatar

Introduction to Critical Legal Theory

Source: Website of


With the aim to get better picture of modernism and postmodernism, I am reading I, Ward, „Introduction to Critical Legal Theory“. Cavendish Publishing, 2004, which book talks about development of legal thought from modernity to postmodernism. The book talks of development of the society as a network of relations that are nothing other than their communicative content, and discusses, whether an individual is a self-contained entity, independent of society (still understood as the aggregate sum of individuals). 

             The main chapters in the book

1.       Identifying modernism

1.1.  The classical tradition

1.2.  Natural law and political theology

1.3.  Natural law revisited

2.       The critique of modernity

2.1.  The moral self

2.2.  Neo-Kantianism

2.3.  The empire of integrity and the moral dominion

3.       The politics of community

3.1.  Communitarianism

3.2.  The politics of solidarity

3.3.  Rethinking democracy

4.       The politics of positivism

4.1.  The origins of legal positivism

4.2.  Liberty, anarchy and the sceptical mind

4.3.  Utility and the evolution of legal positivism

5.       Law and the political economy

5.1.  The challenge of political economics

5.2.  Marxism, materialism and determinism

5.3.  Neo-liberalism and economic analysis

6.       Politics, power and pragmatism

6.1.  The politics of decision

6.2.  History, knowledge and power

6.3.  Critical legal thinking

7.       Postmodernism and deconstruction

7.1.  The politics of the absurd

7.2.  The turn to deconstruction

7.3.  Pragmatism and postmodernism

Through these topics, the book actually talks about simple things. Such as the price for living in the communities is that society has the „right to make a judgment“ about certain moral issues. I think that for even an average intelligence, it is not difficult to predict what would be a society’s pick if it had to choose between those two:

● children, Christmas, joy, laughter, lights, presents, food (generally understood as good);


● books, philosophy, silence, poverty (in such combination – bad and ugly?).

Understanding that and artificially forcing a person away from everything generally acceptable in society …  Well, why would anyone do that?

What do I mean by „artificial“? – Well, the idea of social contract is that a self contracts with the other selves, but imagine that all the other selves cut the self off. … Why would a rational society do that?

(A society, of course, is in reality integrated, having different sides that mostly all may be important and honestly and reasonably agreed upon in words, not symbols and pictures (that should be possible at least in the peacetime). One may argue that the lower the level the agreement is made, the more a modern world faces moral confusion and social anarchy, but an individual also faces anarchy if constantly forced).

Comments are closed.

UACES and Ideas on Europe do not take responsibility for opinions expressed in articles on blogs hosted on Ideas on Europe. All opinions are those of the contributing authors.