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Habermas contra Foucault: Law, Power, and the forgotten subject

Martire J (2012) Habermas contra Foucault: Law, Power, and the forgotten subject, Law and Critique, 23 (2), pp. 123-139.

The purpose of the present paper is to offer a Foucauldian critique of Habermas’s theory of law and democracy. Quite famously Habermas viciously attacked Foucault’s positions on law and power in modernity. Those attacks will be taken into consideration here in order to show some deficiencies in Habermas’s own reading of modern law and democracy. My suggestion is that the formal nature of Habermas’s communicative approach fails to take into adequate consideration the question of subjectivity formation. More precisely I will demonstrate that Habermas’s own works show a troublesome ambivalence with regards to the possibility that individuals can participate as ‘unencumbered selves’ to the public life of their community. As a consequence his account turns a blind eye to certain dynamics of power in our society that a Foucauldian approach seems more apt to frame and explore.

Democracy; European crisis; Foucault; Habermas; Identity; Law; Power; Subjectivity

AuthorsMartire Jacopo
Publication date07/2012
PublisherSpringer Netherlands
ISSN 0957-8536

law and Critique: Volume 23, Issue 2

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