This essay was originally presented at the Conference on American and German Traditions of Sociological Jurisprudence and Critical Legal Thought organized by the Center for European Legal Policy, Bremen, Federal Republic of Germany, July 10-12, 1986. Subsequent versions were discussed at the Department of Sociology, Northwestern University (February 1987) and the Workshop on Legal Theory at the University of Virginia Law School (March 1987). Comments by participants at these events, members of the Amherst Seminar, Boaventura Santos, Kristin Bumiller, and G. Edward White are gratefully acknowledged. An earlier version of the paper appears in Joerges & Trubek, eds., Critical Legal Thought in Germany and America: A German-American Debate (Baden-Baden: NOMOS, 1989).