The Unrecognized Father of Freudo-Marxism: Mikhail Reisner’s Socio-Psychological Theory of State and Law

  • Oleksandr Merezhko
Part of the Law and Philosophy Library book series (LAPS, volume 125)


Mikhail Reisner was one of the most original continuators of Petrażycki’s psychological theory of law and he made an attempt to combine psychological theory and Marxism. Reisner, on the basis of the psychological theory of law, built a psychological theory of the state. In the construction of the state, Reisner distinguishes three key elements: (1) human psyche, as the key source of social and state ideology, (2) ideology itself, which depends upon certain historical conditions, (3) the political behavior of the people, which shows the influence of the state’s ideas in human life. According to Reisner, as a social phenomenon the state is primarily a process in which the central role is played by ideology. Reisner also created a theory of ‘class intuitive law’, which had practical importance in the first years after the Bolshevik revolution, when all the laws of the Russian Empire were discarded. In the last years of his life, he turned to psychoanalysis, and tried to combine social theory with the teachings of Freud. Had Reisner’s works and ideas been known in the West, he could have been regarded as one of the founding fathers of such intellectual currents as: Critical Legal Studies, Freudo-Marxism and ‘Law and Literature’. At the same time, a careful reading of his works can provide a powerful impulse to develop contemporary Critical Legal Studies further.


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Oleksandr Merezhko
    • 1
  1. 1.O.P. Jindal Global UniversitySonipatIndia

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