The Legal Thought of Roberto Unger: Contemporary Significance, Problems and Possibilities

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Ligertwood, Julian (2020) The Legal Thought of Roberto Unger: Contemporary Significance, Problems and Possibilities. PhD thesis, Victoria University.


This thesis provides an explanation and critique of the legal thought of Roberto Unger. Although Unger’s social and political thought has generated a large literature, there has been far less scholarly work published on Unger’s legal thought. Unger’s jurisprudence represents an important contribution to the intersection between legal, political and social theory and many of his concepts deserve to occupy a more central place in the jurisprudential canon. Unger’s legal thought is of contemporary significance both for its insightful critique of current styles of legal analysis and for its clear rationale for the hope of achieving radical reform at least partly through law. While his critical jurisprudence is clear, coherent and persuasive, his normative jurisprudence remains problematic both in developing it in practice and in explaining how social theory can inform, or place restraints on the normative practice of institutional imagination. His radicalized pragmatist social theory does, however, offer a plausible, though necessarily incomplete, social theoretical basis for how law might be used to construct a more emancipatory politics.

Item type Thesis (PhD thesis)
Subjects Historical > FOR Classification > 1801 Law
Current > Division/Research > College of Law and Justice
Keywords legal thought; legal analysis; Roberto Unger; jurisprudence; social theory; pragmatism; law
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