Developing a social theory that pivoted on communication, Habermas became one of the most influential thinkers of the second half of the twentieth century. Taking this as a starting point, Hauke Brunkhorst offers us a supple but exhaustive intellectual biography of Habermas, from his famous 1953 criticism of Heidegger, through the Frankfurt of the 60s and 70s up to the positing of his theories in the most recent debates on eugenic practices, on the conflict between the secular state and religion, on the issue of global politics and the relations between law and constitution. According to Brunkhorst, Habermas's communicative revolution, if taken seriously, implies an ideal of radical democratic inclusion that proves indispensable not only to guarantee the legitimacy of the institutions but also to ensure their stability. In the final section of the book this theory is discussed in the light of the issue of the globalisation of politics and the internationalisation of law.
University of Flensburg, Germany
Hauke Brunkhorst is Professor of Sociology at the University of Flensburg and co-ordinator of the International Master's degree in European Studies organised by the Universities of Flensburg and Süd-Dänemak. Among his numerous publications we would mention: "Der 18. Brumaire des Louis Bonaparte" von Karl Marx, Frankfurt/M 2007; Solidarität. Von der Bürgerfreundschaft zur "globalen Rechtsgenossenschaft" Frankfurt/M 2002 (also published in English translation under the title: Solidarity. From Civic Friendship to a Global Legal Community, Cambridge, Mass. 2005). Among the works he has edited: The European Union as a Model for the Development of Mercosur? Transnational Order between Economic Efficiency and Political Legitimacy (with W. Matiaske, G. Grözinger and M. Neves), München 2007 and Verrechtlichung der Souveränität. Hans Kelsens Rechts- und Staatsverständnis (with R. Voigt), Baden-Baden 2007.