Abstract

http://ssrn.com/abstract=1082498
 


 



Law and the American State


John D. Skrentny


University of California, San Diego (UCSD); Department of Sociology


Annual Review of Sociology, Vol. 32, August 2006

Abstract:     
Although classical theories of the state and key texts of historical institutionalism and American political development (APD) defined the American state as a fundamentally legal entity, contemporary studies of the American state show a range of roles for law and courts, from no role at all, to a constraint or obstacle, to a positive force for state development. This review maps these varying roles, showing that law and courts are most absent or play negative roles in studies of the growth of the national administrative welfare state. It highlights new studies in this area that show the American state as a legal state and surveys growing numbers of historical institutionalist and APD studies of the state and economic and social regulation, where law and courts are more prominent. It points to the important but mostly neglected subjects of criminal and tort law as areas for future study that unite law and the state. Finally, it concludes by showing how concepts from the sociology of law-legal mobilization, law/court effectiveness, and legal consciousness-can inform state-centered political studies. Portraying the American state as a legal state yields a richer conception, reveals new and important subject matter and explanatory strategies, and can encourage dialogue between scholars of law and scholars of the state.

Keywords: politics, policymaking, courts, American political development, institutionalism

Accepted Paper Series


Not Available For Download

Date posted: January 11, 2008  

Suggested Citation

Skrentny, John D., Law and the American State. Annual Review of Sociology, Vol. 32, August 2006. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1082498

Contact Information

John D. Skrentny (Contact Author)
University of California, San Diego (UCSD) ( email ) ( email )
9500 Gilman Drive
Mail Code 0502
La Jolla, CA 92093-0112
United States
Department of Sociology ( email ) ( email )
9500 Gilman Drive
Mail Code 0502
La Jolla, CA 92093-0112
United States
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