Regime Change: Orders of Law in Transition

Norman W. Spaulding


The essays in this special issue take up changes in regimes of western legal thought. They are concerned not just with how and why such changes take place, or with the consequences these changes bring about, but with the methodological challenges of representing the state of transition. The known result, the claims to authority of the new regime (even the claims to authority of the displaced regime), along with the desire to locate agency in the change, operate to obscure the contradictions and uncertainties that shape the experience of change itself. To study regime change, these essays show, is to remain alert to the interpretive significance of the state of transition itself—to draw into relief the deeply contingent features of any regime in the moment of its inception, and to trace those contingent features across the façade of its authority.

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