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Netherlands Journal of Legal Philosophy


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Issue 3, 2011 Expand all abstracts
Editorial

Access_open The Normative Turn in Teubner’s Systems Theory of Law

Authors Lyana Francot-Timmermans and Emilios Christodoulidis
Author's information

Lyana Francot-Timmermans
Lyana Francot-Timmermans is Assistant Professor in Legal Theory at Utrecht University, the Netherlands.

Emilios Christodoulidis
Emilios Christodoulidis is Professor of Legal Theory at the University of Glasgow, United Kingdom.
Article

Access_open Transnational Fundamental Rights: Horizontal Effect?

Keywords fundamental rights, societal constitutionalism, inclusionary and exclusionary effects, anonymous matrix
Authors Gunther Teubner
AbstractAuthor's information

    Violations of human rights by transnational corporations and by other ‘private’ global actors raise problems that signal the limits of the traditional doctrine of ‘horizontal effects’. To overcome them, constitutional law doctrine needs to be complemented by perspectives from legal theory and sociology of law. This allows new answers to the following questions: What is the validity basis of human rights in transnational ‘private’ regimes – extraterritorial effect, colère public or external pressures on autonomous law making in global regimes? Do they result in protective duties of the states or in direct human rights obligations of private transnational actors? What does it mean to generalise state-directed human rights and to respecify them for different social spheres? Are societal human rights limited to ‘negative’ rights or is institutional imagination capable of developing ‘positive’ rights – rights of inclusion and participation in various social fields? Are societal human rights directed exclusively against corporate actors or can they be extended to counteract structural violence of anonymous social processes? Can such broadened perspectives of human rights be re-translated into the practice of public interest litigation?


Gunther Teubner
Gunther Teubner is Professor of Private Law and Legal Sociology and Principal Investigator of the Excellence Cluster ‘The Formation of Normative Orders’ at the Goethe-University, Frankfurt/Main. He is also Professor at the International University College, Torino, Italy.
Discussion

Access_open Hybrid Constitutionalism, Fundamental Rights and the State

A Response to Gunther Teubner

Keywords societal constitutionalism, Gunther Teubner, system theory, fundamental rights
Authors Gert Verschraegen
AbstractAuthor's information

    This contribution explores how much state is necessary to make societal constitutionalism work. I first ask why the idea of a global societal constitutionalism ‘beyond the state-and-politics’ might be viewed as a significant and controversial, but nonetheless justified innovation. In the second part I discuss what Teubner calls ‘the inclusionary effects of fundamental rights’. I argue that Teubner underplays the mediating role of the state in guaranteeing inclusion or access, and in a way presupposes well-functioning states in the background. In areas of limited statehood there is a problem of enforcing fundamental rights law. It is an open question whether, and under which conditions, constitutional norms within particular global social spheres can provide enough counter-weight when state constitutional norms are lacking.


Gert Verschraegen
Gert Verschraegen is Assistant Professor of Theoretical Sociology at the University of Antwerp, Belgium.
Discussion

Access_open The Destruction and Reconstruction of the Tower of Babel

A Comment to Gunther Teubner’s Plea for a ‘Common Law Constitution’

Keywords global society, constitutionalism, social systems theory, Teubner, law and order
Authors Bart van Klink
AbstractAuthor's information

    This article presents some critical comments concerning the conceptual, normative and institutional foundations of Teubner’s plea for a ‘common law constitution’. My comments question the desirability of the means chosen for attaining this objective as well as their efficacy. In particular, I have difficulties with the ambivalent role that is assigned to man, either as a person or as a human being; with the reduction of social problems to problems of communication; and, finally and most importantly, with the attempt to conceive of law and politics beyond established legal and political institutions, which in my view is doomed to fail. The conclusion offers some tentative suggestions for an alternative approach.


Bart van Klink
Bart van Klink is Professor of Legal Methodology at the Faculty of Law of the VU University Amsterdam, the Netherlands.
Discussion

Access_open Human Rights, and the Destructive Communications and Actions of Differentiated Society

Keywords communication, one-sided rationality, human rights, bare body and mind, inclusion, action, exclusion
Authors Wil Martens
AbstractAuthor's information

    This contribution raises two questions with regard to Teubner’s view on human rights. First and foremost, it asks how one might conceive of modern society as a threat to human beings. Attention is brought to bear on Teubner’s attempt to describe society as a matter of communication, and more specifically as a set of one-sided communication systems. In this regard, I scrutinise the attempt to describe the threat of society in terms of inclusion/exclusion and criticise the vacuity of the concept of inclusion. Secondly, it questions Teubner’s description of human beings that demand justice and protection by human rights. Are their demands about the bare existence of body and mind? Moreover, are these concerns identical to worries about the destruction of human presuppositions for the self-reproduction of functional social systems, as Teubner suggests? Against Teubner, I contend that human rights are actually about social human beings that ask for justice as acting beings, which claim does not coincide with presuppositions of societal subsystems.


Wil Martens
Wil Martens is Assistant Professor of Organisational Development and Senior Researcher at the Nijmegen School of Management at the Radboud University Nijmegen, the Netherlands.
Discussion

Access_open Against the ‘Pestilential Gods’

Teubner on Human Rights

Keywords semiosphera, paranomia, Drittwirkung, matrix argument
Authors Pasquale Femia
AbstractAuthor's information

    Examining the function of human rights in the semiosphere requires a strategy of differentiation: the dissolution of politics into political moments (politics, it is argued, is not a system, but a form of discourse); the distinction between discourse and communication; the concept of systemic paranomic functionings. Paranomia is a situation generated by the pathological closure of discourses, in which knowledge of valid and observed norms obscures power. Fundamental rights are the movement of communication, claims about redistributing powers, directed against paranomic functionings. Rethinking the debate about the third party effect implies that validity and coherence must be differentiated for the development of the ‘matrix argument’.


Pasquale Femia
Pasquale Femia is Professor of Private Law at the Faculty of Political Studies of the University of Naples II, Italy.
Discussion

Access_open Horizontal Effect Revisited

A Reply to Four Comments

Authors Gunther Teubner
Abstract

    In this concluding article, Gunther Teubner addresses his critics.


Gunther Teubner