Excerpt: Like the economy and the royal family, autopoiesis has been receiving some bad publicity recently in Britain. What are we to make of a theory which apparently sees the legal system as firmly closed to all external influences and which refuses even to accept the obvious fact that ‘people make decisions’? Surely our sympathies must lie with the critic who dismisses this unpronounceable theory as a lawyers’ attempt ‘to aggrandize the legal discourse by writing of law in half-apologetic and half-admiring tones? Or is what we have here not so much a social theory but a recognition of law’s ‘need to defend and perpetuate its traditional hegemony by defining itself as closed – a new and virulent form of legal positivism perhaps?
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