About the Methodology of Comparative Law - Some Comments Concerning the Wonderland

21 Pages Posted: 21 Jan 2008

See all articles by Jaakko Husa

Jaakko Husa

University of Helsinki - Faculty of Law

Date Written: November 2007

Abstract

To avoid complexities: I claim that comparative law may sometimes feel like a Wonderland. Obviously, this sort of claim calls for explanation - what kind of wonderland and in what specific sense. So, I should first explain myself shortly before presenting an argument for flexible understanding of comparative law methodology.

Now, comparative law literature is sometimes quite confusing, occasionally even slightly disturbing. Especially if one is interested in comparative law methodology i.e. the question concerning how to do comparative law. Comparative law and comparative legal studies are today vast fields with different scholarly orientations, inner debates and even schools of thought with very different academic orientations. To name a few: there are those who seek similarities, those who prefer to stress differences, those who are interested in western law, those who are interested in non-western law, there are generalists and there are country-specialists. As an academic discipline comparative study of law has developed a wide range of internal styles and methodological debates normally reflecting the same debates that take place in legal academia in general.

In this presentation methodology of comparative law is analysed by using the metaphoric device of Wonderland, originally known from the famous novel Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll (pen name of Charles Lutwidge Dodgson). But, the assumed rhetorical approach does not reflect the ideas of the novel itself, rather it reflects some of the personal feelings of a writ who has sometimes felt as being in a Wonderland and falling, constantly, into different rabbit-holes while trying to make sense what is - or what might be - the method of comparative law.

Keywords: comparative law, comparative law methodology, comparative legal studies

JEL Classification: K19

Suggested Citation

Husa, Jaakko, About the Methodology of Comparative Law - Some Comments Concerning the Wonderland (November 2007). Maastricht Faculty of Law Working Paper No. 5. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1085970 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1085970

Yleen Simonis (Contact Author)

METRO ( email )

P.O.Box 616
Maastricht, 6200 MD
Netherlands

Jaakko Husa

University of Helsinki - Faculty of Law ( email )

Porthania 5th Floor
P.O. Box 4
Helsinki, FIN-0001 4
Finland

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