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Kelsen, Hans (1881–1973)

Hans Kelsen is widely acknowledged as one of the master thinkers in modern positivist legal theory. Some scholars have classified him as a fundamental opponent of sociology in general and the sociology of law in particular. However, one can make a case to include Kelsen among sociolegal scholars.

Born in Prague, Kelsen was the son of Jewish parents and thus had to overcome the usual animosities against Jews before he became a full professor of public law at Vienna University in 1919. On invitation from the socialist chancellor Karl Renner (1870–1950), he drafted the Austrian Constitution of 1920 and became a judge on the new Austrian Constitutional Court. In 1930, Kelsen accepted a professorship at the University of Cologne.

Sacked by the Nazi government in 1933, he ...

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