Gegengründungen: Antidemokratische Staatsverweigerung

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The article discusses constructions of "own" law and, as a result, "counter-establishments" using the example of anti-democratic state deniers. The social phenomena of so-called "citizens of the Reich" and "self-governors" found in Germany and Austria are analysed for the first time from a socio-legal perspective and then provisionally classified by means of exploratory empirical soundings. The study focuses on the question of how and why the reference to applicable law and the use of imagined law is made, for example by proclaiming one's own "courts" or by writing extensive petitions to authorities denying them legitimacy. We discuss why "state deniers" act in the mode of legal semantics. We argue that the phenomenon points to justification issues, paradoxes and alienating effects of modern positive law and its bureaucratic enforcement. State deniers copy legal forms and justifications in order to appropriate the authority and legitimacy inherent in applicable law. Whether intentionally or unintentionally, they harness the contingency of a law having procedural legitimacy, which has left natural law claims behind.

Translated title of the contributionCounter-establishments: Anti-democratic state deniers
Original languageGerman
JournalZeitschrift fur Rechtssoziologie
Issue number2
Pages (from-to)227-252
Number of pages26
Publication statusPublished - 25.02.2020
Externally publishedYes

    Research areas

  • Sociology - Self-governors, "citizens of the Reich", Contingency, State deniers