The United States adopted a new welfare regime in 1996. The centerpiece of this legislation is a notion of personal responsibility that redefines the relation between individuals and the state. I use this law as a foil to outline a new paradigm of legal research. We must understand welfare, I argue, as part of a self-referential legal system. Law is legitimated by particular kinds of fair, democratic political agreement. When material inequalities undermine political participation, however, the law must insure the bases of its own legitimacy through welfare. Welfare law is thus vital to a nation’s legal system as a whole. Seen from this perspective, the current American welfare system fails to fulfill the basic presuppositions of legal legitimacy.
Olson, K. (2003), "WELFARE, DEMOCRACY, AND THE REFLEXIVE LEGITIMACY OF THE LAW", Studies in Law, Politics and Society (Studies in Law, Politics, and Society, Vol. 29), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 97-122. https://doi.org/10.1016/S1059-4337(03)29004-9Download as .RIS
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