one of the principal schools of bourgeois legal theory in the 20th century. Normativism is related to positivism, which dominated bourgeois jurisprudence in the 19th century. Positivism reduced legal science to a description and logical systematization of existing law and declared socioeconomic explanations to be superfluous. Normativism has developed this approach in even more rigid form, demanding that legal science disregard the social factors that influence the legislator, the courts, and the behavior of people in the sphere of law and reject social evaluation of existing law. Normativism holds that law must be studied in “pure form” as a special normative sphere independent of social life and economic and political conditions (it is sometimes called the pure theory of law). Normativism is based on the neo-Kantian idea that the “ought” and the “is” are inseparable from one another and that the former cannot be derived from the latter: “Law can only be determined by law, and the force of law is in itself.”
Normativism as a whole is directed against the Marxist interpretation of law as an element of the superstructure, determined by the socioeconomic and political conditions of class society. Unlike Marxism, normativism denies the possibility of a social evaluation of bourgeois law. The leading exponents of this school are the Austrian jurist H. Kelsen and his followers A. Verdross, A. Merkel, J. Kunz, and C. Eisenmann. The principles of normativism were also defended by G. Nawiasky (Germany) and C. de Malbert (France). Normativism had many adherents in Europe between the world wars. After World War II its importance in Europe declined, although it continues to be influential in a number of Latin American countries.