Werner Gephart (Bonn): Law and "Gemeinschaft": Opening of the New Research Year "Law and Community"

The Käte Hamburger Center for Advanced Study in the Humanities “Law as Culture” depends on interactions between different disciplines from different cultures to gain a deeper understanding of law as a regulatory and creative power of social life under the conditions of globalization. This is achieved not least by the Forum “Law as Culture”, through which the respective annual themes are discussed and further developed.

After the “Law-as-Culture paradigm”  was developed during the Center’s very first phase, our attention was directed towards both the relationship between “Law and Politics” and “Law and Economy”. Now in the final two years of the current phase, we are aiming to better understand law and community, respectively, which form the foundation of the sphere “Law and Community”.

In the first part of my lecture, I will discuss the by no means undisputed, yet indispensable categories of “community” and their limits – from Ferdinand Tönnies to Durkheim and Parsons to Luhmann – in order to localize them in the legal sphere. In doing so, various levels of community will become visible, ranging from the figure of the “legal community” to the “European community” to family and neighborhoods as primordial communities. To part I

In the second part, I will attempt to illuminate the normative implications and consequences of the Corona crisis in light of the Law-as-Culture paradigm. These will undoubtedly have an extraordinary impact on political, religious, and familial communities – an impact that, under the conditions of a normative state of exception, establishes an extensive realm of the normative (Foucault). To part II

Werner Gephart
Director at the Käte Hamburger Center "Law as Culture"