Research Handbook on Critical Legal Theory
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Research Handbook on Critical Legal Theory

Edited by Emilios Christodoulidis, Ruth Dukes and Marco Goldoni

Critical theory, characteristically linked with the politics of theoretical engagement, covers the manifold of the connections between theory and praxis. This thought-provoking Research Handbook captures the broad range of those connections as far as legal thought is concerned and retains an emphasis both on the politics of theory, and on the notion of theoretical engagement. The first part examines the question of definition and tracks the origins and development of critical legal theory along its European and North American trajectories. The second part looks at the thematic connections between the development of legal theory and other currents of critical thought such as; Feminism, Marxism, Critical Race Theory, varieties of post-modernism, as well as the various ‘turns’ (ethical, aesthetic, political) of critical legal theory. The third and final part explores particular fields of law, addressing the question how the field has been shaped by critical legal theory, or what critical approaches reveal about the field, with the clear focus on opportunities for social transformation.
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Chapter 5: Queer in the law: critique and postcritique

Mariano Croce


This chapter illustrates how queer theories affect the way we think of the law. I first discuss the dynamics of negotiation that are required for forms of sexuality and types of relationships to gain access to legal recognition and state protection. In doing so, I look at three lines of the queer lineage (namely, Freudo-Marxism, radical constructivism and antisocial theories) and foreground how they conceive the relation between law and sexuality. To cut deeper into the ambivalence of this relation, I centre on the same sex marriage debate and especially the heated contrapositions that still surround it. This shines a light on how claims to legal recognition affect the law in a transformative manner and to what extent these very claims are reabsorbed in a constrictive lexicon that effaces the challenging character of same sex sexuality. The chapter concludes by gesturing to the innovative effects of postcritique on queer theory and its conception of the legal practice.

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