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 8: Law and the public/private distinction

Scott Veitch

Abstract

The public nature of modern state law determines what becomes private, how, and with what consequences. Two contrasting readings of this claim are examined. The first, drawing on Marx, is a critique which argues that the differentiation between public and private operates ideologically to legitimate exploitation. The second treats the juridical deployment of the distinction as necessary in the defence of human dignity against the operation of economic or scientific calculation. The chapter then assesses how three qualities specific to the public sphere may be seen as central to thinking relations and things in common, and in so doing, renewing the value of the public in its determination of what is deemed private and what not.

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