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Book Chapter

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During the past decade the effort to understand the place of the legal system in society has, in England and America, given rise to a renewed interest in the possibility of legal autonomy (Thompson, 1975; Balbus, 1973; 1977; Trubek, 1977). More recently, on the continent of Europe, especially in Germany, scholars have focused on an apparently radical form of autonomy — embodied in the idea of an autopoietic system — in an effort to understand how law functions (Luhmann, 1985 d; Teubner, 1984). These two approaches to understanding the legal system paint pictures that have much in common, but they are differently developed; they are supported by different types of arguments and they are advanced at different levels of abstraction.


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