What is Transformative Law?

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    Upholding normative expectations is a key function of law. This insight indicates that law have a conservative dna. But law transforms too. A key characteristic of world society in its manifold local, national and transnational contexts is the sustained demand for legal norms in the attempt to stabilize but also expand and transform all sorts of social processes. The legal institutions of competition, contract, corporation and property are - among many others - key examples of this. On this backdrop, elements of a concept of transformative law is outlined relying on an epistemological understanding of law as form-giving. It is through form-giving that law constitutes a social phenomenon as a legal institution and it is form-giving which gives law a strategically central position in society. This argument is unfolded through a genealogy of imaginaries of law through a distinction between four historically dominant types of law: ‘Law as purpose’; ‘law as a tool’; ‘law as an obstacle’; and ‘law as reflexivity-initiation’. Finally, the extent to which transformative law can act as an alternative to these four types of law is reflected upon emphasizing that the potentiality of transformative law can be boiled down to a question of time as it is in the tension between ex ante and ex post law the crux of transformative law lies.
    Original languageEnglish
    Publication date2022
    Number of pages15
    Publication statusPublished - 2022
    EventThe Transformative Law of Political Economy in Europe: Mobilizing Legal Institutional Imagination - University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam, Netherlands
    Duration: 27 Jan 202228 Jan 2022


    ConferenceThe Transformative Law of Political Economy in Europe
    LocationUniversity of Amsterdam

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