1st Edition

Luhmann and Socio-Legal Research An Empirical Agenda for Social Systems Theory

    280 Pages 11 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    280 Pages 11 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This book discusses the designs and applications of the social systems theory (built by Niklas Luhmann, 1927–1998) in relation to empirical socio-legal studies.

    This is a sociological and legal theory known for its highly complex and abstract conceptual apparatus. But how to change its scale in order to study more localised phenomena, and to deal with empirical data, such as case law, statutes, constitutions and regulation? This is the concern of a wide variety of scholars from many regions engaged in this volume. It focuses on methodological discussions and empirical examples concerning the innovations and potentials that functional and systemic approaches can bring to the study of legal phenomena (institutions building, argumentation and dispute-settlement), in the interface with economy and regulation, and with politics and public policies. It also discusses connections and contrasts with other jurisprudential approaches – for instance, with critical theory, law and economics, and traditional empirical research in law. Two decades after Luhmann’s death, the 21st century has brought countless transformations in technologies and institutions. These changes, resulting in a hyper-connected, ultra-interactive world society bring operational and reflective challenges to the functional systems of law, politics and economy, to social movements and protests, and to major organisational systems, such as courts and enterprises, parliaments and public administration. Pursuing an empirical approach, this book details the variable forms by which systems construct their own structures and semantics and ‘irritate’ each other.

    Engaging Luhmann’s theoretical apparatus with empirical research in law, this book will be of interest to students and researchers in the field of socio-legal studies, the sociology of law, legal history and jurisprudence.

    1. An Empirical Agenda for the Social Systems Theory?
    2. Lucas Fucci Amato, Marco Loschiavo Leme de Barros and Celso Fernandes Campilongo

      Part I: Theoretical bases for systemic empirical studies

    3. The Sociological Investigation of Law in Systems Theory
    4. Raffaele De Giorgi

    5. Is There a Need for a Critical Systems Theory?
    6. Lukas K. Sosoe

    7. Changing Maps: Empirical Legal Autopoiesis
    8. John Paterson and Gunther Teubner

      Part II: Analysing law through systemic approaches: the economic and regulatory interface

    9. Regulation without Interests? An Introduction to Luhmannian Empirical Mapping of System-Environment Relationships
    10. Bettina Lange

    11. Free Floating or Free Riding? Recursive Norm Building in the German Energy Transition Using the Example of the Approval of e-scooters in German Cities
    12. Cristina Besio and Margrit Seckelmann

    13. Law and Economy without ‘Law and Economics’? From New Institutional Economics to Social Systems Theory
    14. Lucas Fucci Amato

      Part III: Analysing law through systemic approaches: the political interface

    15. Observing Courts: An Organisational Sociology for Socio-Legal Research
    16. Marco Antonio Loschiavo Leme de Barros

    17. Casting off from the Rock of Uncertainty: Observations on the Empirical Application of Luhmann’s Sociological Theory and a Case Study on the Concept of Normative Expectations
    18. Mark Hanna

    19. Integration and Disintegration: Protest, Social Movements and Legal Interpretation
    20. Celso Fernandes Campilongo

    21. Politics, Law and Legitimacy: Reconstructing Brexit from a Systems Theory Perspective
    22. John Paterson

    23. A historical sociology of constitutions and democracy: an interview

    Chris Thornhill


    Celso Fernandes Campilongo is Full Professor and Vice-Dean at the University of São Paulo Law School, Brazil.

    Lucas Fucci Amato is Professor at the Department of Legal Philosophy and Jurisprudence at the University of São Paulo Law School, Brazil.

    Marco Antonio Loschiavo Leme de Barros is Professor at the Law School of Mackenzie Presbyterian University, São Paulo, Brazil.