Rowman and Littlefield International

Hans Kelsen and the Case for Democracy

By Dr Sandrine Baume

This study assesses Kelsenian democratic theory.

Paperback ISBN: 9781907301247 Release date: Dec 2012
£16.00 €22.00 $27.00

Pages: 90

Hans Kelsen and the Case for Democracy is a contextual analysis of this famous jurist's political thought. Kelsen's works are usually reduced to his theory of law, and his reflections on democracy are often ignored. The great strength of Kelsen's political thinking lies in the largely original arguments that it musters against the critics who condemn or debunk the institutions of parliamentary democracies. This study assesses Kelsenian democratic theory by exploring three questions: first, how is Kelsen's political theory intertwined with his legal theory? Second, how does Kelsen combine his reflections on the democratic ideal with his appreciation of a reality that more often than not quite distant from that ideal? Third, how does Kelsen conceive of the sources of the state's cohesion in a democracy?


Acknowledgements vii

Preface to the English Edition xi

Introduction 1

Chapter One: Rules Without Transcendence 7

Chapter Two: The Instruments of Political Liberty 19

Chapter Three: Controversy Over the Relationship

Between Law and the State 41

Chapter Four: Conclusion: Hans Kelsen In Our Time 51

Select Bibliography of Kelsen’s Writings 63

Index 65

Sandrine Baume is a political philosopher and a historian of ideas. She is currently an associate professor at the Centre for Public Law in the Faculty of Law and Criminal Justice at the University of Lausanne, Switzerland. Her research focuses particularly on the theory of the democratic state: its institutions, its rules, and its values. Among her recent publications are La transparence dans la conduite des affaires publiques: Origines et sens d'une exigence (Raison publique, 2011); On Political Theology: A Controversy between Hans Kelsen and Carl Schmitt (History of European Ideas, 2009) and Carl Schmitt, penseur de l'Etat: Genèse d'une doctrine (Presses de Sciences Po, 2008).

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