Thursday, March 1, 2018

Meierhenrich, "The Remnants of the Rechtsstaat: An Ethnography of Nazi Law"

New from Oxford University Press: The Remnants of the Rechtsstaat: An Ethnography of Nazi Law (March 2018), by Jens Meierhenrich (London School of Economics). A description from the Press:

This book is an intellectual history of Ernst Fraenkel's The Dual State (1941, reissued 2017), one of the most erudite books on the theory of dictatorship ever written. Fraenkel's was the first comprehensive analysis of the rise and nature of Nazism, and the only such analysis written from within Hitler's Germany. His sophisticated-not to mention courageous-analysis amounted to an ethnography of Nazi law. As a result of its clandestine origins, The Dual State has been hailed as the ultimate piece of intellectual resistance to the Nazi regime.

In this book, Jens Meierhenrich revives Fraenkel's innovative concept of "the dual state," restoring it to its rightful place in the annals of public law scholarship. Blending insights from legal theory and legal history, he tells in an accessible manner the remarkable gestation of Fraenkel's ethnography of law from inside the belly of the behemoth. In addition to questioning the conventional wisdom about the law of the Third Reich, Meierhenrich explores the legal origins of dictatorship elsewhere, then and now. The book sets the parameters for a theory of the "authoritarian rule of law," a cutting edge topic in law and society scholarship with immediate policy implications.
A few blurbs:
"As early as 1938, Ernst Fraenkel, a German labor lawyer and social democrat chased out of Germany because of his Jewish origin attempted an analysis of Nazi law. He argued that law and lawlessness existed side-by-side, and deviously complemented one another. Meierhenrich has carefully and admirably excavated this intellectual achievement, and reimagined Fraenkels dual state for the twenty-first century. This is a terrific book and of immediate relevance for understanding the present: dual states are everywhere." - Michael Stolleis 
"One would have hoped that in our own time a rigorous analysis of Nazi law would serve only antiquarian purposes. However, Jens Meierhenrich's magnificent The Remnants of the Rechtsstaat serves as a painful reminder that this is unfortunately not the case. In this brilliant and meticulous reevaluation of Ernst Fraenkel's interrogation of the workings of the Third Reich's legal system, Meierhenrich revives the idea that authoritarian regimes are not in fact lawless entities, but in fact states that deploy legalism in both cynical and systematic ways. In an era when hybrid regimes, which combine both dictatorial and liberal elements, proliferate throughout the world - in Europe and North America, as well The Remnants of the Rechtsstaat is an indispensable read." - John P. McCormick
More information is available here.