Journal Article

The public–private relation in the context of today’s refeudalization

Alain Supiot

in International Journal of Constitutional Law

Published on behalf of The New York University School of Law

Volume 11, issue 1, pages 129-145
Published in print January 2013 | ISSN: 1474-2640
Published online January 2013 | e-ISSN: 1474-2659 | DOI:
The public–private relation in the context of today’s refeudalization

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  • Constitutional and Administrative Law
  • UK Politics


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For relations among individuals to be governed by the rule of law and not by the “law” of the strongest, the “res publica” must stand tall. This subordination of private to public is what makes the structure of law intelligible and dependable. It is the West’s response to an anthropological situation experienced by all human civilizations in their vital need to metabolize society’s potential for violence by referring power to an origin which both legitimates and limits it. The containment of individual interests thus necessarily depends on the condition of the res publica which is the bearer of what Ulpian calls “sacred things.” This dogmatic framework has been taken up across the world, in step with Western domination. But this model is being undermined by Western countries themselves in their aspiration to free legal systems from their dogmatic foundations and invert the public–private relation. Ignorance of the organization of powers underpinning government by laws is taking us back to government by men, that is, to feudal ways of hybridizing the public and the private.

Journal Article.  9541 words. 

Subjects: Constitutional and Administrative Law ; UK Politics

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