Law and violence

Christoph Menke in dialogue

By Christoph Menke

Law and violence


  • Hardcover
  • eBook

Book Information

  • Format: Paperback
  • ISBN: 978-1-5261-0508-0
  • Pages: 256
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
  • Price: £20.99
  • Published Date: January 2018
  • BIC Category: Jurisprudence & general issues, LAW / General, PHILOSOPHY / General, Society & social sciences / Violence in society, Humanities / Philosophy, Society & social sciences / Political science & theory, Jurisprudence & Philosophy Of Law, Political Theory, Philosophy, Political science & theory, Methods, theory & philosophy of law, SOCIAL SCIENCE / Violence in Society
  • Series: Critical Powers


Christoph Menke is a third-generation Frankfurt School theorist, and widely acknowledged as one of the most interesting philosophers in Germany today. His lead essay focuses on the fundamental question for legal and political philosophy: the relationship between law and violence. The first part of the essay shows why and in what precise sense the law is irreducibly violent; the second part establishes the possibility of the law becoming self-reflectively aware of its own violence. The volume contains responses by María del Rosario Acosta López, Daniel Loick, Alessandro Ferrara, Ben Morgan, Andreas Fischer-Lescano and Alexander García Düttmann. It concludes with Menke's reply to his critics.


'Christoph Menke is the foremost critical theorist of the "self-repugnance" (as immanent self-critique) of judgment, aesthetics, and the law. In this volume, he turns to a literary archive for its more lucid awareness of the law's paradoxes. Rethinking Benjamin's Critique of Violence, Menke asks us to imagine the difference of a law executed in reflexive awareness (rather than disavowal) of its own violence. His leading critics explore the extension of his trenchant theses to contemporary forms of transitional justice, politics, literature, subjectivity, decision, and depotentiation.'
Penelope Deutscher, Joan and Sarepta Harrison Professor of Philosophy, Northwestern University


Part I: Lead essay
1 Law and violence - Christoph Menke
Part II: Responses
2 Between law and violence: towards a re-thinking of legal justice in transitional justice contexts -
María del Rosario Acosta López
3 Law without violence - Daniel Loick
4 Deconstructing the deconstruction of the law: reflections on Menke's 'Law and violence' - Alessandro Ferrara
5 Law in action: Ian McEwan's The Children Act and the limits of the legal practices in Menke's 'Law and violence' - Ben Morgan
6 Postmodern legal theory as critical theory - Andreas Fischer-Lescano
7 Self-reflection - Alexander García Düttmann
Part III: Reply
8 A reply to my critics - Christoph Menke


Christoph Menke is Professor of Philosophy at Goethe University, Frankfurt

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