Spectres of Transnationalism: Changing Terrains of Sociology of Law

Queen Mary School of Law Legal Studies Research Paper No. 32/2009

The Journal of Law and Society, Vol. 36, No. 4, December, 2009

22 Pages Posted: 23 Sep 2009

See all articles by Roger Cotterrell

Roger Cotterrell

Queen Mary University of London, School of Law

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Date Written: September 22, 2009

Abstract

The growth of 'legal transnationalism' - that is, the reach of law across nation-state borders and the impact of external political and legal pressures on nation-state law - undermines the main foundations of sociology of law. Modern sociology of law has assumed an 'instrumentalist' view of law as an agency of the modern directive state, but now it has to adjust to the state's increasingly complex regulatory conditions. The kind of convergence theory that underpins analysis of much legal transnationalism is inadequate for sociolegal theory, and old ideas of 'law' and 'society' as the foci of sociology of law are no longer appropriate. Sociolegal theory should treat law as a continuum of unstable, competing authority claims. Instead of taking 'society' as its reference point, it should conceptualise the contrasting types of regulatory needs of the networks of community (often not confined by nation-state boundaries) that legal transnationalism addresses.

Keywords: Globalization, transnational law, global legal pluralism, legal instrumentalism, convergence theory; sociology of law

Suggested Citation

Cotterrell, Roger, Spectres of Transnationalism: Changing Terrains of Sociology of Law (September 22, 2009). Queen Mary School of Law Legal Studies Research Paper No. 32/2009, The Journal of Law and Society, Vol. 36, No. 4, December, 2009, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1476954

Roger Cotterrell (Contact Author)

Queen Mary University of London, School of Law ( email )

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