Michele Spanò

The Institutions of Private Actors: Autonomy, Relationships, Cooperation

  • Abstract

Informations and abstract

Keywords: legal institutionalism, legal history, private law theory, solidarity, social cooperation.

This essay proposes a reading of legal institutionalism conceived as an internal critique of what we call “modern topologyµ. This formula is meant to identify the typical modern legal configuration of politics based upon the dialectical, if not specular, relationship between private and public law, property and sovereignty. Legal institutionalism inherits this configuration while its crisis begins. Pluralism and anti- normativism are the two crucial features of institutionalism’s response to the progressive erosion of “modern topologyµ. The essay scrutinizes different versions of legal institutionalism in order to assess to which degree it might be considered a genuine alternative to “modern topologyµ, i.e. able to actually overcome the “topologicalµ logics of modern law. The line of thought defended by the Italian legal philosopher Widar Cesarini Sforza – “the law of private actorsµ – is considered to be a crucial and effective move towards this outcome. This version of legal institutionalism analyzes the law as a principle of organization of plural collectives equipped with their own normative powers. This theoretical account allows for an inquiry on how we could imagine the ways in which social cooperation – the production and reproduction of goods and services – might be legally institutionalized today.

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