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What Should Legal Analysis Become? [Paperback]

Roberto Mangabeira Unger
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)


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Book Description

June 17, 1996 1859841007 978-1859841006
Roberto Mangabeira Unger brings together his work in legal and social theory. He argues for the reconstruction of legal analysis as a discipline of institutional imagination. He shows how a changed practice of legal analysis can help us re-imagine and reshape the dominant institutions of representative democracy, market economy and free civil society. The search for basic social alternatives, largely abandoned by philosophy and politics, can find in such a practice a new point of departure. Unger criticizes the dominant, rationalizing style of legal doctrine, with its obsessional focus upon adjudication and its urge to suppress or contain conflict or contradiction in law. He shows how we can turn legal analysis into a way of talking about the alternative institutional futures of a democratic society. The programmatic proposals of Unger’s Politics are here placed within a wider field of possibilities. A major concern of the book is to explore how professional specialties such as legal thought can inform the public debate in a democracy. The book exemplifies this connection: Unger’s arguments are accessible to those with no specialized knowledge of law or legal theory.


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About the Author

Roberto Mangabeira Unger is one of the leading social and political thinkers in the world today. He is also active in Brazilian politics. Verso has published much of his work: False Necessity: Antinecessitarian Social Theory in the Service of Radical Democracy, What Should Legal Analysis Become?, Democracy Realized: The Progressive Alternative, Politics, and The Left Alternative.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 198 pages
  • Publisher: Verso (June 17, 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1859841007
  • ISBN-13: 978-1859841006
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 9.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,349,734 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Always worth trying December 14, 2000
Format:Hardcover
To understand this brief book requires some impression to the origin of the author, Brazil. Unger comes from a upper-middle class Brazilian family of politicians. In this gigantic and once colonized state, economic and social problems are never too few, especially the great gap between the priviledged and the under- priviledged. Various programs, reformative or revolutionary, hence appear in the political market one after another.
Among the competition, Unger stands on the "left" side if we have to label it. Unlike some stereotypes of "left", Unger proposes in this book his political experimentalism. This idea aims at expelling the superstition of Great Institutions, such as traditional legal systems of property, contract and torts, and typical British or American political frameworks. The proposal points out the problem that "developping countries" naively count on transplantation of those institutions but are unable to see positive outcomes. What's worse, these countries are simply repeating what the west Europe and the United States have undergone in the 19th century.
As a scholar of law, Unger urges the legal analysis to be a medium leading to reflections of more profound social reforms. It should more closely observe the present institutions, and concretely develop new setout. For the readers in "developping countries", where battles of diverse political ideas never stop, Unger's advice can be a valuable option. Whereas for those in "developped countries", Unger offers a perspective other than self-centrism.
Another remark: comparison of Roberto Unger's ideas and those of "New Left" in UK and Germany can be very interesting. We can roughly categorize both of them as "left", but more nuances lie behind.
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5.0 out of 5 stars The price and the content were good. March 18, 2013
Format:Paperback
I recommend this item to every student of law, most of all, for those tha are interested in constitutionalism and democracy.
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