Browse by title
Issues at Stake, Challenges and Recommendations
Lucky Belder and Helle Porsdam
Jan M. Broekman and Frank Fleerackers
‘Thoughts Backing Speech’ underlines that law depends on specific speech acts. One cannot say anything at random in law and about written laws. That is not only the case in law and a lawyer’s profession, but also at peripheries of legal discourse, in a conversation on the street or other public spaces. That theme is disregarded in semiotic studies. Legal meaning-making, which does not take place within the profession, is difficult to trace. Our understanding of law as a citizen is, on the contrary, to a large extent determined by what is talked about, accepted or rejected, thought or neglected beyond the domain of valid law. Thoughts that back this type of speech confront us with major components of law’s discourse such as our evidence of thinking and judging when we discuss law in public. They also regard interactivity and interaction as constitutive in law practices. What unfolds outside the legal profession is often linked to concepts such as ‘nature’ and ‘natural’. ‘Legal consciousness’ is therefore reconsidered. The sign character of laws and their meaning reintroduce the semiotic relevance of human expressivity, of our understanding the multilingual character of reality in law, and of the basics of human rights – altogether issues that constitute every legal conversation anywhere. Keywords Street, Periphery of law, Interactivity, Interaction, Legal consciousness, Human rights, Multilingual realities
Maurice Adams and Corien Prins
The transformative impact of digitalization on society and the state of democracy can scarcely be overestimated. Effects are visible within the national state and across borders, as well as on knowledge production and political participation and social structures. In this introductory chapter, the variety of norms and ideals which are reflected in just as many different conceptions of democracy are singled out with regard to the respective chapters in this volume. Based on this, also some further thoughts on the topic are elaborated upon and a networked approach is advocated.
New Modes of Shaping Social Change?
This chapter introduces in depth the scientific models and theories which have captured the idea of “shaping society” with their conceptual language. These scientific models are analysed from the perspective of the sociology of knowledge. The underlying intuition is that a deeper understanding of the respective semantics will also improve our comprehension of the social structures in the field. The semantics of governance captures a widespread contemporary description of the exercise of power and its legitimation. Governance is understood as a form of statehood mainly characterized by negotiation and co-operation, in contrast to hierarchical steering, rule-making, enforcement and sanctioning. To a certain extent, governance has turned the scales against the more traditional concepts of law and regulation, which bear some connotations of the nineteenth and twentieth century nation-state and have allegedly become rather outdated models of societal organization. Contrary to this widespread intuition within the governance debate, the chapter demonstrates that the perspective of law and regulation is still fruitful for conceptualizing the relation between the different fields and subsystems of modern society. While governance indeed expanded the analytical realm towards new instruments of control and the new actors involved in decision-making, it did so all the while preserving and even strengthening the idea of controlling and powerfully shaping societal conditions. The chapter therefore suggests recollecting the functional nucleus of “governance” within the terminology of “regulation”. Such a nucleus places particular emphasis on the “ruling part” of governance semantics which (a) remains deeply concerned with questions of exercising influence and (b) feeds to a large extent on legal sources.
Bridget M. Hutter
This chapter outlines some of the most prominent environmental issues we face, including changes in our understandings of environmental risks, uncertainties and damage and the inequalities attaching to them. It discusses strategies for managing these risks, focusing in particular on risk and resilience perspectives and the ways in which they relate to environmental law. The chapter introduces the organisation of the book around major themes such as variable perspectives on risk regulation; the compatibility of law with notions of risk and resilience; transnational efforts to manage environmental risks; and the difficulties associated with managing inequalities within and between countries. It concludes with an introduction to some of the emerging governance issues generated by these debates.