What is Transformative Law?

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

17 Downloads (Pure)


In the western context, law has two functions. It upholds normative expectations and it transforms social phenomena. The latter is expressed through the form-giving function of law, as law designates particular social phenomena, such as, for example, economic, political or religious. Inside such overarching categories, further subcategories can moreover be observed. In relation to economic processes, the legal institutions of competition, contract, corporation and property are, for example, classical examples of the form-giving function of law. The dual function of law is briefly illustrated through a genealogy of imaginaries of law distinguishing between four historically dominant types of law: ‘Law as purpose’; ‘law as a tool’; ‘law as an obstacle’; and ‘law as reflexivity-initiation’. On this background, ten core dimensions of what might become a new episteme of transformative law are fleshed out with the aim of answering the question to what extent it can act as an alternative to the previous four types of law.
Original languageEnglish
JournalEuropean Law Open
Issue number4
Pages (from-to)760-780
Number of pages21
Publication statusPublished - 2022


  • Function of law
  • Form-giving
  • Infrastructiral power
  • Low of political economy
  • Reflexive law
  • Rights
  • Time and law
  • Transformative law

Cite this