16 November 2023

BOOK: Kunal PARKER, The Turn to Process: American Legal, Political, and Economic Thought, 1870–1970 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2023), 346 pp, ISBN 9781009335225, £79.99


(image courtesy: Cambridge University Press)

Book description: 
In The Turn to Process, Kunal M. Parker explores the massive reorientation of American legal, political, and economic thinking between 1870 and 1970. Over this period, American conceptions of law, democracy, and markets went from being oriented around truths, ends, and foundations to being oriented around methods, processes, and techniques. No longer viewed as founded in justice and morality, law became a way of doing things centered around legal procedure. Shedding its foundations in the 'people,' democracy became a technique of governance consisting of an endless process of interacting groups. Liberating themselves from the truths of labor, markets and market actors became intellectual and political techniques without necessary grounding in the reality of human behavior. Contrasting nineteenth and twentieth century legal, political, and economic thought, this book situates this transformation in the philosophical crisis of modernism and the rise of the administrative state.

Table of contents: 
Part I. Truths (and Methods): American legal, political, and economic thought before 1870
Part II. The Turn to Process, 1870 – 1970: Three Essays: A. Law: becoming procedure
B. Political science: the group as process
C. Economics: man and market as technique
Part III. Conclusion: History, method, fracture

About the author: 
Kunal M. Parker is a Professor of Law and Dean's Distinguished Scholar at the University of Miami. He is the author of Common Law, History, and Democracy in America, 1700–1900: Legal Thought Before Modernism (2011) and Making Foreigners: Immigration and Citizenship Law in America, 1600–2000 (2015).

More information can be found here

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