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This book provides a fresh and accessible overview of the most innovative and challenging theoretical approaches in the field of legal and political studies of the last three decades. To this end, it focuses on four main transformations that are reshaping the intersection of law and politics today: the rise of new types of subjectivities and their struggle for recognition; the fragmentation of culture and the rise of legal pluralism; the emergence of new techniques of government and the crisis of modern citizenship; alteration of the traditional modes of functioning of legal and political institutions.
Engaging work by some of the most prominent contemporary legal and political theorists, the book demonstrates how law’s ties with the state are being severed. Unrecognised subjects use law to voice their claims of recognition and to reshape social meanings and categories; religious and cultural communities and indigenous populations use law as a means to acquire autonomy and independence; competing actors in the marketplace use law to create a global state-free space inspired by strategic rationality; and courts and activists use law to draw the boundaries of a global politics and its institutions. Law, it is argued here, has become an autonomous and sophisticated technique of social construction. And, as it gives rise to entirely new entities and scenarios, so these require a new understanding of the contemporary intersection of law and politics.