This collection of essays follows and adds to the presentations from the Critical Legal Conference 2010, which was held at Utrecht University's Department of Legal Theory. The conference's main theme focused on exposing the normative abuse of law against the background of 'multiple modernities,' i.e. the idea that modernity is not a single encompassing Western concept, but entails different traditions and strands of thought about contemporary society. What ties the essays together is their critique on contemporary society (or an aspect of society) from a legal-theoretical perspective - a critique which implies a method of observation, analysis, interpretation, and argumentation, that represent a point of view on what is wrong with law in contemporary society. This is how critical legal theory distinguishes itself from mainstream legal theory. What is wrong with law is its actual and potential normative abuse. Social developments demand a critical perspective to lay bare this abuse. These developments relate to the financial and economic crisis, the continuing 'humanitarian' wars, and the rising intolerance of 'the other'/the perceived threat 'the other' poses. Hence, human rights are employed by the State to justify torture. The law on patents and intellectual property prevent any sense of responsibility for the lack of access to healthcare by the global poor (suffering from AIDS). Trade law exists on the premise of equality of market access, which de facto is a fallacy.
Publication Date: 9/1/2011