The SAGE Handbook of Frankfurt School Critical Theory expounds the development of critical theory from its founding thinkers to its contemporary formulations in an interdisciplinary setting. It maps the terrain of a critical social theory, expounding its distinctive character vis-a-vis alternative theoretical perspectives, exploring its theoretical foundations and developments, conceptualising its subject matters both past and present, and signalling its possible future in a time of great uncertainty. Taking a distinctively theoretical, interdisciplinary, international and contemporary perspective on the topic, this wide-ranging collection of chapters is arranged thematically over three volumes: Volume I: Key Texts and Contributions to a Critical Theory of Society Volume II: Themes Volume III: Contexts This Handbook is essential reading for scholars and students in the field, showcasing the scholarly rigor, intellectual acuteness and negative force of critical social theory, past and present.

Walter Benjamin’s Concept of Law

Walter Benjamin’s Concept of Law

Walter Benjamin’s Concept of Law
Amy Swiffen

Part I: Benjamin’s Critique of Violence

This essay aims to clarify the relevance of Walter Benjamin’s concept of law for contemporary socio-legal theory by providing an exegetical account of the text ‘Critique of Violence’ (1978). The Critique was written against a backdrop of political turbulence in post-WWI Germany. The theme of law’s relation to violence upon which it dwells speaks to the context of parliamentary breakdown and political violence that plagued the country in the lead up to the rise of fascism. What interested Benjamin was the conditions of possibility for ‘legal violence’, by which he meant the use of legitimate or sanctioned violence (e.g. criminal law power).1 By ‘law’, Benjamin ...

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