In the Winter of Our Discontent: Law, Anti-Law, and Social Science

Posted: 18 Oct 2010

See all articles by Marc Galanter

Marc Galanter

University of Wisconsin Law School, Madison

Date Written: December 2006

Abstract

Law and social science took shape as a field of inquiry in the third quarter of the past century, an era of expanding rights and remedies and optimism about the capacity of law, government, and social science to address intractable social problems. It put down vigorous institutional roots in organizations, publications, teaching, and research that enabled it to survive the erosion of the reformist soil that nurtured it and to adapt to a new era in which the prevailing common sense is a jaundiced view that emphasizes the weaknesses, costs, and dangers of law. A significant body of research has rebutted many of the components of the jaundiced view, but with little effect on the prevailing folklore. The legal system's distinctive susceptibility to such misreadings and misrepresentations is aggravated by a late and weak development of empirical knowledge and a lack of credible guardians of its knowledge base.

Suggested Citation

Galanter, Marc S., In the Winter of Our Discontent: Law, Anti-Law, and Social Science (December 2006). Annual Review of Law and Social Science, Vol. 2, pp. 1-16, 2006, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1693697 or http://dx.doi.org/10.1146/annurev.lawsocsci.2.081805.105946

Marc S. Galanter (Contact Author)

University of Wisconsin Law School, Madison ( email )

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