The Critical Legal Studies Movement Roberto Mangabeira Unger

The search for alternative forms of basic social organization aims to design more hospitable social institutions and to promote the intercontextual nature of man. Such a doctrine is intended to emphasize how biased, power-laden and provisional legal documents have become the appearance of a necessity that should not be granted. [11] In short, divergent doctrine encourages theorists to change society by removing an ideal from a part of social life and extending it to a field from which it was previously excluded. [12] This has the advantage that the theorist can draw on a rich collective history of ideas and institutions that helped articulate the ideal in the past and can now be used to defend its extension to a new field of social life. [13] The Critical Legal Studies Movement is a book by philosopher and politician Roberto Mangabeira Unger. First published as an article in the Harvard Law Review in 1983, published as a book in 1986, and reissued in 2015 with a new introduction, The Critical Legal Studies Movement is a major document in the American movement of critical legal studies that gave the book its title. In the book, Unger argues that law and legal thinking offer unrealized opportunities for the self-construction of a more democratic society, and that many jurists and legal theorists have uncritically encountered constraints that undermine their ability to exploit the transformative potential of law. Unger explains how the critical jurisprudential movement refined and reformulated the main themes of left-wing and progressive legal theorists, namely the critique of formalism and objectivism in legal doctrine and the purely instrumental use of legal practice and doctrine to advance left-wing goals, identifying elements of a constructive program for the reconstruction of society. Woodard praised the Critical Legal Studies Movement, stating, “Whether one agrees with Mr. Unger and C.L.S. agree or not, one cannot help but be impressed by his lofty idealism and intelligence,” but “I suspect he will be read primarily by converts and others will not care. As a result, an entire generation of older readers will miss out on a book that will most likely have a huge impact on the younger generation of law students.

[29] Calvin Woodard, who reviewed the book for the New York Times, described The Critical Legal Studies Movement as an “ambitious and impressive undertaking.” He also escaped summons. It`s a carefully crafted statement with ideas that fit together like a chainlink fence that stretches as far as the eye can see. [29] The central theme of the movement, Woodard explained, is that in this section, Unger proposes the transformation of existing doctrine that would help advance the movement`s goals for critical legal studies. First, it explains how the ambitions underlying the doctrine of equal protection could be better achieved by expanding it so that individuals and institutions are endowed with “destabilizing rights,” that is, the right to release accumulations of power that serve to inhibit and disempower members of society. [22] Second, it proposes to modify the social institutions of the Treaty and property in order to bring them more in line with the principles of solidarity and community. [23] Unger explains that the turning point for many critical legal theorists was when they decided to pursue the critical attack on formalism and objectivism to the limit, at great risk of “confusion, paralysis, and marginality.” [9] Unger suggests that the application of “extreme criticism” to formalist and objectivist ideas will lay out the elements of a constructive program for the reconstruction of society in accordance with left-wing goals. [6] In this chapter, he criticizes objectivism and formalism.