Explorations on the Notion of Legal Tolerance

World Futures 68 (4-5):280 - 295 (2012)
Abstract
This article builds on the notion of legal tolerance and analyzes the scope of its definition. It situates the notion in the complex set of relations occurring between the major systems of society. Generally, legal tolerance, as a concept, is understood in light of the possibilities of the legal system of influencing other major systems? responses. On the other hand, tolerance is also the response of the legal system in respect to other major systems? communications. Although there is a common understanding of tolerance as ?under punishing bias? in criminology or as political tolerance in political science, 1 the focus of this article is different. The central points here are, first, the analysis of legal tolerance as part of systemic communications and, second, the historicity of the transformations of the nation-state in its ability to cope with the growth of separate, distinct and partial systems of society. Tolerance seems relational and raises questions such as: ?How much can the legal system tolerate?? And also, ?Which societal topics belong to the social system's domain-matter?? These questions are relevant given that the concept of legal tolerance depends on the possibilities of a given system to steer, to direct or to influence other major systems? behavior, or to resist, respond or to address other systems, which are in its environment. The concept of legal tolerance requires an analysis of a cluster of related definitions to assess the implications of the concept. These definitions are the following: (1) The concepts that result from the historical process of structuration and that explain the emergence of social systems. (2) The definition of reflexivity and its relation with the ?second order cybernetics dilemma.? This is the place where heuristic and epistemological problems are found. Such problems result from both the problem of representation and from the ontological status of the real. This analysis will show why reflexivity is a key concept to explaining the transformations suffered by such systems. Then, legal tolerance is a newer development in respect to the idea of planning. As an alternative to hard planning, legal tolerance creates a fostering environment. Instead of a single system directing other systems, legal tolerance is relational and created collectively by the organizational national state using its (limited) power of legal creation. Legal tolerance also stems from the concerned subsystems of the society (economy, law, politics, science, along with others) by means of a variety of legislative products, public policies, alliances, and legal and other scientific communications that emerge as coordinating mechanisms among the alluded major subsystems
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