BOOK : Werner Gephart, Daniel Witte (ed.) The Sacred and the Law. The Durkheimian Legacy

Werner Gephart, Daniel Witte (ed).

The Sacred and the Law.

The Durkheimian Legacy

Frankfurt am Main: Klostermann 2017

Series of the
Käte Hamburger Center for
Advanced Study in the Humanities “Law as Culture”

There is little doubt about the importance of Emile Durkheim’s work and the influence it had on the social sciences. His insights into the realms of normativity in particular remain an inspiring mine of information for theoretical reflection and empirical analyses. While his strengths, as we know nowadays, might not have always laid in systematic arguments, his main concerns have shaped the development of social thought in fundamental ways: the question of changing social bonds and the problem of integration; belief and unbelief in societal values; acceptance and rejection of the law, obligation and rights; inner tensions of normative orders; the problem of aligning the polymorphism of normativities with the polymorphic structures of society – and, hence, the project of normative and social pluralism. The Sacred occupies an important dual position in this context: marking an autonomous sphere of the Holy, endangered and upstaged by processes of modernization, and at the same time a fundamental trait of sociality, culture and normativity in general, thus providing the basis even still for modern, ‘secularized’ forms of collective beliefs. The current volume is comprised of contributions from a variety of disciplinary perspectives dealing with a wide range of topics in the realm of normativity in order to recall these important issues and demonstrate the influence and moment of Durkheim’s thinking on matters of the Sacred and the law.

The list of contents can be found here

About the editors :

Werner Gephart is a legal scholar, sociologist, artist, and Founding Director of the Käte Hamburger Center for Advanced Study in the Humanities “Law as Culture”

Daniel Witte is sociologist and research coordinator at the Käte Hamburger Center “Law as Culture”

Summary :

Werner Gephart, Daniel Witte, The Social, the Sacred and the Cult of Law: Some Introductory Remarks on the Durkheimian Legacy , p. 7

I. In the Realm of Normativity

Steven Lukes, Norms as Social Facts, p. 33
Stephen Turner, Durkheim as a Neo-Kantian Philosopher, p. 49

II. Durkheim as a Reader of Legal Studies

Jean-Louis Halpérin, Durkheim et la culture juridique de son temps , p. 73
Raja Sakrani, Cultures de droit judaïque et islamique : Un regard durkheimien, p. 93

III. The Sacred Ground of Private Law

Werner Gephart, On the Religious Origins of Private Law. Émile Durkheim, Paul Huvelin, and Emmanuel Lévy , p. 115
Laurent de Sutter, Durkheimian Mysteries: Law, Magic and the Sacred in Paul Huvelin and Marcel Mauss , p. 139
Laura R. Ford, Legacies of the Sacred in Private Law: Roman Civic Religion, Property, and Contract , p. 157

IV. The Non-Contractual Elements of Contract

Jean-Louis Fabiani, Contract, Context, Social Action, p. 203
Dirk Tänzler, Reading Hobbes with Durkheim: The Ritual Roots of Politics, p. 213

V. The Politics of Law and Religion

Daniel Witte, Passing the Torch: From Durkheim’s Statism to Bourdieu’s Critique of the State , p. 229
Jan Christoph Suntrup, Deliberation and the “Social Brain”. Durkheim’s Theory of Democracy and Political Legitimacy , p. 263
Prakash Shah, Provincializing Durkheim’s Religion, p. 283
Daniel Šuber, Law from Myth? A Study in Living Law in Serbia, p. 301

VI. In the Realm of Global Normativity

Marta Bucholc, Entangled Normativities: Durkheimian Scenarios for Late Modernity, p. 339
Roger Cotterrell, Moral Individualism Today: Human Rights and Dignity through a Durkheimian Lens , p. 359


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