Heidi Libesman


Boaventura de Sousa Santos, Toward a New Legal Common Sense: Law, Globalization, and Emancipation. 2d ed. London: Butterworths LexisNexis, 2002. Pp. xxiii, 565. £35 (paper).

The project of Toward a New Legal Common Sense is to outline the structure of a new, more just social paradigm and to explore the possibilities for achieving it. Santos starts from the premise that the prevailing paradigm, which he calls "modernity," is in crisis.' Although modernity is built upon worthy aspirations such as peace, justice, and equality, Santos believes that there is a growing gap between these aspirations and reality, a gap which the prevailing paradigm is incapable of bridging.2 As a result of the crisis in modernity, we have entered a period of paradigmatic transition in which two fundamentally incompatible models-capitalism and democracy-vie for supremacy. Although Santos identifies capitalism as the hegemonic model, he argues that the struggle to determine the character of the postmodern paradigm has not yet been played out. Toward a New Legal Common Sense articulates and defends a counter-hegemonic model sounding in democracy.