- Jeffrey Alexander’s theory of the civil sphere between philosophy and sociology of law (2012)
- Alexander’s theory of the civil sphere can be placed in the context of development of sociology of law. However, Alexander draws not so much on sociological theories but rather on the approaches of philosophy of law, particularly the ideas of Fuller, Dworkin and Habermas. The civil sphere is presented by Alexander as the embodiment of Dworkin’s principal integrity. Locating law within civil morality Alexander reveals the similarity of his viewpoint to Dworkin’s position. Drawing on Fuller’s works Alexander singles out the procedural foundations of the democratic order. At the same time for Alexander the source of morality of law is not the legal system itself but a certain level of civil solidarity. Like Habermas, Alexander emphasizes the culturally embedded character of the legal norms. Alexander shares Habermas’s understanding of law as a regulative mechanism affecting all spheres of social life. However, Habermas is more sensitive to the danger of colonization of law by the imperatives of the economic and political subsystems. Alexander’s approach can be contrasted with Luhmann’s sociological theory of law. Alexander concentrates on interrelation and mutual penetration of the civil sphere and law while Luhmann regards law as an autonomous system following its own logic. While Alexander claims that his theory is rooted both in sociology and philosophy of law in fact his approach is closer to normative philosophy.