Who spoke with whom, when, and what about – The German Historical School as group phenomenon

January 05, 2018

The new volume by Hans-Peter Haferkamp casts light on the German Historical School for the first time as a group phenomenon. The focus of this publication are not the well-known leading figures, like Friedrich Carl von Savigny; instead, the author works out which of the School’s guiding themes were discussed by which group of persons, not to mention how both the discourse and its participants changed over the course of time. Who spoke with whom, when, and what did they speak about? At what point was the School perceived by those in the community as constituting a distinct group? In order to develop these questions, the author analysed a number of written sources, especially those promising an uncensored glimpse of the open contemporary discourse, such as letters, anonymous reviews or lecture transcripts. Without attempting to precisely delineate between those belonging to the School and those who do not, the author nevertheless identifies those followers of the seminal figures Savigny and Hugo, who themselves went on to become part of academic discussion. As a result, the German Historical School came to be viewed by a large number of jurists as a context of communication, and these jurists were not only working as legal scholars, but also as teachers and judges.

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