1st Edition

Law, Modernity, Postmodernity Legal Change in the Contracting State

By Brendan Edgeworth Copyright 2003
    314 Pages
    by Routledge

    324 Pages
    by Routledge

    This title was first published in 2003. This book examines the interrelationship between the unravelling of the post-war welfare state and legal change. By reference to theorists of postmodernity such as Zygmunt Bauman, Scott Lash and John Urry, and David Harvey, the principal argument is that contemporary law and legal institutions can be best understood as having changed in ways that mirror the recent transformation of the interventionist welfare state and its Fordist, Keynesian economic infrastructure. The key changes identified in the legal field include:- the shift toward marketized regulatory structures as reflected in privatization and deregulation, the attenuation of welfare rights, the privatization of justice, legal polycentricity, the reconfiguration of the welfare state’s social citizenship and the globalization of law. Empirical evidence from a number of jurisdictions is adduced to indicate the general direction of change. The cumulative extent of recent social and legal change also forms the basis of a re-evaluation of some influential neo-evolutionist analyses of the nature of law in the welfare state, such as those of Unger, Teubner, Friedmann, Selznick and Habermas, as well as a critical re-assessment of some contemporary postmodern legal theory.

    Contents: Legal and social change; Cognitive mapping; Modern law and the welfare state; Old theories, new paradigm; Legal postmodernization; Critique and reform; What next?; Bibliography; Index.


    Brendan Edgeworth is a senior lecturer in the School of Law, University of New South Wales, Sydney, where he teaches property law, equity and housing law.

    '...provides a wide-ranging theoretical synthesis of the manner in which theories of postmodernity bear on law. It offers also a call to arms for those whose engagement with contemporary law is largely empirical to think more about general theoretical characterizations of the legal phenomena they observe.' Journal of Law and Society '...this book provides much interesting, perceptive commentary and a very useful survey of a wide range of material about processes of legal and social transformation that are in many respects fundamental and pervasive.' Social & Legal Studies 'The book provides a rich, clear, perceptive and precise account of the law's development from its modern to its postmodern form.' Adelaide Law Review