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Acquiring a Community: The Acquis and the Institution of European Legal Order

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The theme ‘law and disorganised civil society’ raises the fundamental question concerning the junction between legal order and disorder, hence the passage from instituted legal order to the institution of legal order. The emblematic manifestation of this passage, in the framework of the European legal order, is the acquis communautaire: what is the nature of the process that leads from acquired community to acquiring a community? In a first, preparatory, step, it will be argued that determinate conceptions of truth, time and the giving and taking of reason underlie the process of acquiring a European community. These findings are confronted, in a second step, with Antonio Negri's theory of the multitude as a constituent power, which opposes revolutionary self-determination to representation. Deconstructing this massive opposition, this paper explores three ways in which representation is at work in revolutionary self-determination. As will become clear in the course of the debate, instituting (European) community turns on the interval linking and separating law ‘and’ disorganised civil society.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Tilburg University, The Netherlands

Publication date: September 1, 2003

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