Golden Ages: Notes on the Future of Sociology of Law, with Some Comments on its Past, on Poland, and on Jazz
Published in Societas/Communitas: Journal of the Institute of Applied Social Sciences, University of Warsaw, Vol. 12, No. 2, pp. 9-23, 2011
19 Pages Posted: 27 Nov 2010 Last revised: 27 Oct 2018
Date Written: November 26, 2010
The paper takes advantage of the Polish context for which it was prepared to begin with an analogy between Polish jazz, in what is often called its „golden age‟ of the 1960s and 1970s, and European sociology of law in the same period. These two very different enterprises were often „officially‟ seen as suspect but also potentially useful, and both were highly creative adaptations of inherited resources. European sociology of law could appear helpful to the state and at the same time a preserve of very non-conformist scholars. Yet its nonconformism was built on well established sociological methods and theories. This combination of secure intellectual foundations and political/ professional tensions may have been a recipe for special innovation and creativity.
However, some of the intellectual security on which sociology of law was built is now being undermined, especially through new approaches to theory. Also, the political/ professional tensions and insecurities that helped make sociology of law intellectually unconventional are disappearing. The paper argues that sociology of law should re-establish its subversive potential in particular ways, and should firmly defend its special sociological vision without being confined by sociology‟s disciplinary boundaries.
Keywords: Sociology of law, social theory, economic analysis, law and state
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