Spectres of Transnationalism: Changing Terrains of Sociology of Law

20 Pages Posted: 17 Nov 2009

See all articles by Roger Cotterrell

Roger Cotterrell

Queen Mary University of London, School of Law

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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 socio-legal theory, and old ideas of ‘law’ and ‘society’ as the foci of sociology of law are no longer appropriate. Socio-legal theory should treat law as a continuum of unstable, competing authority claims. Instead of taking ‘society’ as its reference point, it should conceptualize the contrasting types of regulatory needs of the networks of community (often not confined by nation-state boundaries) that legal transnationalism addresses.

Suggested Citation

Cotterrell, Roger, Spectres of Transnationalism: Changing Terrains of Sociology of Law. Journal of Law and Society, Vol. 36, Issue 4, pp. 481-500, December 2009, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1505025 or http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-6478.2009.00480.x

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