Towards a Periodization of Oscar Correas’ Critical Legal Theory

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Víctor Fernando Romero Escalante

Abstract

Óscar Correas is undoubtedly a key figure in Latin American Marxist Critical Legal Theory as a cornerstone of critical legal thought and one of the founders of the “Latin American Critical Legal Theory” [Crítica Jurídica Latinoamericana or CJL] movement. His training as a jurist allowed him to posit legal questions and theories that were fundamental to understandings of reality, overcoming narrow visions of law that had been popularized in social sciences. Correas’ thought underwent changes over the course of new readings and evolving sociopolitical conditions—the crisis of the prevailing Stalinism in the Soviet Union and the irruption of the indigenous movement in México in the form of the Zapatista Liberation Army uprising, to mention two paradigmatic examples—. It should be no surprise that, in the 1990s, Correas would critique and debate the Marxism of Pashukanis. In this sense, I propose the hypothesis of the existence of a “First Correas” and a “Second Correas.” The first, aligned with the Marxism of the critique of political economy (this from the 1970s to the late 1980s), and the second, with a markedly linguistic turn, embracing skepticism, although he never completely abandons Marx’s position (this from the 1990s to until his death in 2020).

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Author Biography

Víctor Fernando Romero Escalante

Professor at the Department of Law, Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana (Mexico City), Lawyer and PhD in Latin American Studies