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Gunther Teubner to Deliver Storrs Lectures, Oct. 7, 8, 9

Gunther Teubner, professor of private law and legal sociology at the Johann Wolfgang Goethe University of Frankfurt, will deliver the 2003-04 Storrs Lectures at Yale Law School on October 7, 8, and 9. His first lecture is titled "Civil Constitutions in Global Society: Alternative to State-Centered Constitutional Theory," and will be held in Room 127 on Tuesday, October 7, 4:30 p.m. The second lecture, "Coincidentia Oppositorum: Hybrid Networks Beyond Contract and Organization," will be in Room 127, on Wednesday, October 8, at 4:30 p.m. The final lecture, "Dealing with Paradoxes of Law: Derrida, Luhmann, Wietholter," will be in the Faculty Lounge, Thursday, October 9 at 12:30 p.m.


Gunther Teubner's three apparently divergent talks are united around the theme of paradox in the law, or as he phrases it " the movement of paradoxification and deparadoxification of legal distinctions."

Teubner's first lecture, "Civil Constitutions in Global Society: Alternative to State-Centered Constitutional Theory," will examine the notion of civil constitutions, or constitutions that govern social sectors--such as the economy, research, or health care--instead of a nation. "The idea is that in the process of globalization, these civil constitutions play a much more important role than they played under the regime of the nation states." Teubner will discuss features of civil constitutions that are both similar to and different from political constitutions.

In his second lecture, "Coincidentia Oppositorum: Hybrid Networks Beyond Contract and Organization," Teubner will take up hybrid networks, which are "private arrangements that are not identical with contracts and neither are they identical with associations, rather they are something in between or beyond market and hierarchy." He mentions virtual enterprises, franchise chains, and just-in-time networks as examples of hybrid networks. He adds that many hybrid networks have come about due to technological innovations and the growing prevalence of knowledge-based production in recent years. "Hybrid networks require on the one side a profound cooperation, on the other side tough competition; this is the reason why these new private arrangements are developing more and more."

The third lecture, "Dealing with Paradoxes of Law: Derrida, Luhmann, Wietholter," will turn more directly to the idea of paradox in the law, particularly in the context of civil constitutions and hybrid networks. Teubner will suggest a change in the mode of thought, from conflict to paradox. He explains that "conflicts are contradictions between A and non-A, while paradoxes . . . have the structure non-A because A." He points out that constitutions are always paradoxical in their foundation, because they are formed in a self-referential mode. "They have a foundationless foundation, or a similar paradoxical formulation. . . . And this is true in a similar way for the civil constitutions, although they are based on different mechanisms."

If you're looking for a further explication of the concept of legal paradox, Teubner responds, "This will happen in the lecture."