In the Grip of Freedom: Law and Modernity in Max Weber

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University of Toronto Press, Jan 1, 2000 - Political Science - 230 pages
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Faith in the utility and value of legal rights forms the political common sense of our age. With its profound breadth and insight into the modern condition, Max Weber's social and political thought is widely considered to be the most influential of the era. Legal phenomena play a centre-stage role in his account of the development of the West and the rationalism of modern social arrangements.

Cary Boucock's "In the Grip of Freedom" examines the relationship between Max Weber's "Sociology of Law" and his interpretation of the structure and meaning of modern society. Weber's social and political thought is investigated in the context of developments in Canada which have followed the 1982 enactment of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms-namely, the movement toward a rights-oriented nation where broad social issues are routed through the courts, and the political self-understanding of the citizen becomes increasingly tied to a conception of the individual as a rights-bearing subject.

Professor Boucock's text runs against the grain of conventional assessments of Weber's legal theory and its applicability to understanding contemporary legal developments. He explores the significance of Weber's sociology of law theories within the larger compass of his sociological thought and illustrates the significance of Weber's sociology for interpreting the social dimensions of present-day legal developments in Canada. Weber's work is a vehicle for understanding the social and legal practices of our own time, and thus, goes far beyond a simple interpretation of the great German thinker.

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Law and Modernity in Max Weber
The Specific and Peculiar Rationalism
Webers Existential Epistemology
The Conceptual Nexus of Formal Rationality and Value
Individual Autonomy and Formal Legal Rationality
Formal Legal Rationality versus Individual Autonomy
Webers Disillusioned Affirmation of Formal Legal Rationality
Legal Rationalization and the Rise of Modern Capitalism
The Developmental Directions of Legal Rationalization
The Constitutionalization of Individual Rights
The Underlying Substantive Coherence of Charter
The Limits of Formal Legal Rationality
In the Grip of Freedom
Legal Cases

Habermas and the Problem of Modern
The Heuristic Value of Webers Disillusioned Realism

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About the author (2000)

CARY BOUCOCK is Assistant Professor in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology at Concordia University in Québec.

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