Ehrlich at the Edge of Empire: Centres and Peripheries in Legal Studies
'Ehrlich at the Edge of Empire: Centres and Peripheries in Legal Studies', M. Hertogh, ed, Living Law: Reconsidering Eugen Ehrlich, Oxford: Hart, pp. 75-94, 2008
23 Pages Posted: 21 Jan 2009 Last revised: 29 Jan 2009
Date Written: January 20, 2009
This paper discusses the legal theory of the Austrian jurist Eugen Ehrlich, the best-known of a number of European law professors who set out to establish sociology of law as a new science at the beginning of the twentieth century. Situating his work in the context of his personal circumstances and career, and also in relation to historical conditions in the closing years of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, the paper considers the reception of Ehrlich's scholarship in the English-speaking world, and the aims of his legal thought. His achievement as an influential pioneer in a new field, and as a thinker of great originality, is highlighted. But it is also argued here that a complex combination of intellectual and professional centrality and marginality in Ehrlich's position explains much about the uncertainties and ambiguities of his approach to law.
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