Politics of Legalism
Using the work of Robert A. Kagan’s intellectual contribution on the intensification of law, leading authorities in the study of the politics of regulation and litigation examine the consequences of the expansion and intensification of law, both in the United States and the rest of the world.
Part One considers bureaucratic legalism, a terrain in which popular and political discourse often conceives as a pitched battle between business and government, and in which claims about quantity—"too much" and "too little"—take center stage. Here, the contributors examine the many ways in which regulators and the regulated cooperate, and the extent to which regulated entities internalize norms and practices associated with bureaucratic.
Part Two considers adversarial legalism, a term that even among academics is often reduced to "litigiousness." The chapters in this section show that adversarial legalism is a much more complex, contingent, and multi-sided phenomenon than the popular debate over litigiousness suggests.
Part III examines Kagan’s core concepts in a comparative framework. Although some sometimes treat adversarial legalism as an American disease, scholars are increasingly finding it proliferating elsewhere, and debating whether it can take a prominent role in nations quite different in tradition and political structure from the United States.
Across the globe, law and legalism in all its forms, bureaucratic and adversarial, is becoming more intense, and thus more central to politics, public policy and everyday life. The consequences are profound. Yet commentary is often stuck on old questions. Does the intensification of law reflect the withering of other social institutions? Is it a sign of moral decay? Or is it, on another account, signaling a new era of respect for universal human rights? The Politics of Legalism takes us instead in directions relatively unexplored by both scholars and popular commentators on law. Like Kagan’s scholarship, it moves beyond stale debates about litigiousness and overregulation, and invites us to think more imaginatively about how the rise of law and legalism will shape politics and social life in the 21st Century.