- Roger Cotterrell, Queen Mary, University of London, UK
- Series : Law, Justice and Power
This book presents a distinctive approach to the study of law in society, focusing on the sociological interpretation of legal ideas. It surveys the development of connections between legal studies and social theory and locates its approach in relation to sociolegal studies on the one hand and legal philosophy on the other. It is suggested that the concept of law must be re-considered. Law has to be seen today not just as the law of the nation state, or international law that links nation states, but also as transnational law in many forms. A legal pluralist approach is not just a matter of redefining law in legal theory; it also recognizes that law's authority comes from a plurality of diverse, sometimes conflicting, social sources. The book suggests that the social environment in which law operates must also be rethought, with many implications for comparative legal studies. The nature and boundaries of culture become important problems, while the concept of multiculturalism points to the cultural diversity of populations and to problems of fragmentation, or perhaps to new kinds of unity of the social. Theories of globalization raise a host of issues about the integrity of societies and about the need to understand social networks and forces that extend beyond the political societies of nation states. Through a range of specific studies, closely interrelated and building on each other, the book seeks to integrate the sociology of law with other kinds of legal analysis and engages directly with current juristic debates in legal theory and comparative law.
Contents: Introduction: approaching law. Perspectives (Legal and Social Theory): Law and social theory; Legal philosophy and legal pluralism; Why must legal ideas be interpreted sociologically?; A legal concept of community. Applications (Comparative Law and Culture): The concept of legal culture; Law in culture; Is there a logic of legal transplants?; Sociology and comparative law; Interpretation in comparative law; Conclusion: Frontiers of community; Bibliography; Index.
About the Author: Roger Cotterrell FBA is Anniversary Professor of Legal Theory at Queen Mary, University of London, UK. He studied law and sociology at London University and, before joining the Queen Mary faculty, taught at the University of Leicester. A former trustee of the Law and Society Association, he has held visiting positions at universities in Belgium, Italy, Spain, Sweden, Hong Kong and the United States. His other books include three edited works published by Ashgate: Law and Society (1994), Sociological Perspectives on Law (two volumes, 2001) and Law in Social Theory (2006).
Reviews: '"It is now widely accepted that sociological inquiry is valuable and necessary to illuminate the social or historical processes that shape legal doctrine." No one has done more to make his words come true than Roger Cotterrell himself. Law, Culture, and Society exhibits Cotterrell's unique standing as a particularly authoritative guide along the frontiers of sociology and legal scholarship.' Sir Neil MacCormick, University of Edinburgh, UK
'How can we theorize the relationship between law and society under contemporary conditions of social fragmentation, fluidity, and change? In this magisterial book, the eminent theorist Roger Cotterrell argues for analyzing the plurality of law and community. This is essential reading for those interested in transnational law as well as current sociolegal theory.' Sally Engle Merry, New York University, USA
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