Between the Norm and the Exception

From Studies in Contemporary German Social Thought

Between the Norm and the Exception

The Frankfurt School and the Rule of Law

By William E. Scheuerman





Winner, 1996 Elaine and David Spitz Book Prize for the best book onliberal and democratic theory, Conference for the Study of Political Thought. Winner, 1994 First Book Prize, Foundations of Political Thought Organized Section, American Political Science Association.

Between the Norm and the Exception contributes historical insight to the ongoing debate over the future of the rule of law in welfare-state capitalist democracies. The core issue is whether or not society can offer its citizens welfare-state guarantees and still preserve the liberal vision of a norm-based legal system. Franz Neumann and Otto Kirchheimer, in an age dominated by Hitler and Stalin, sought to establish a sound theoretical basis for the "rule of law" ideal. As an outcome of their sophisticated understanding of the liberal political tradition, their writings suggest a theoretical missed opportunity, an alternative critical theory that might usefully be applied in understanding (and perhaps countering) the contemporary trend toward the deformalization of law.


Out of Print ISBN: 9780262193511 341 pp. | 5.9 in x 8.9 in


$30.00 X ISBN: 9780262691963 341 pp. | 5.9 in x 8.9 in


  • In this well-written, brilliantly researched and provocative work, Bill Scheuerman has analyzed a little-known chapter of twentieth-century intellectual history: the encounter between Carl Schmitt, named the jurist of the Third Reich, and two members of the Frankfurt School: Otto Kirchheimer and Franz Neumann.... This will be compelling and captivating reading for anyone interested in continental social and political thought in the twentieth century.

    Seyla Benhabib

    Harvard University