Chapter 26: Nomocratic social change: Reassessing the transformative potential of law in neoliberal times
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This chapter revisits long-standing debates in legal and political theory about the transformative potential of law in the neoliberal conjuncture, in which law-based tactics seem increasingly unavoidable for social movements. Rather than accepting the inevitability of law-based tactics, thereby side-stepping critiques of the legal form as constitutive of the very structures that radical movements seek to dismantle, this chapter demonstrates that taking the legal form seriously yields a more robust and nuanced understanding of the possibilities and perils of using law in political struggle. The chapter explores the role of the legal form in shaping and cohering the ‘nomocratic’ neoliberal political sphere, and the limitations and possibilities this poses for radical movements. Ultimately, it argues that the transformative potential of law is variable, contin-gent, and best understood by distinguishing uses of law for politics from uses of law as politics.

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