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Comparative Sociology of Law

COMPARATIVE LAW AND SOCIETY, David S. Clark, ed., Cheltenham, UK: Edward Elgar Publishing, 2012

Queen Mary School of Law Legal Studies Research Paper No. 96/2011

27 Pages Posted: 14 Dec 2011  

Roger Cotterrell

Queen Mary University of London, School of Law

Date Written: December 13, 2011

Abstract

What is involved in making comparisons between societies, so as to be able to understand similarities and differences between socio-legal phenomena in those societies? This paper considers a wide range of methodological and theoretical challenges for comparative sociology of law (‘law and society’) research. It indicates the kinds of work currently being done, and argues that it is essential, in comparing research findings from different countries, to consider the sometimes sharply contrasting local contexts (political, cultural, economic, etc.) in which research is pursued in those countries. An understanding of different cultures of research, which shape the way studies are planned, carried out and interpreted, is important. Comparative sociology of law depends on intercultural dialogue and negotiated provisional cross-national understandings. Judgments of similarity and difference between socio-legal phenomena in different societies should be self-consciously reflexive; made with awareness that these judgments will be colored by the local cultures of research in which scholars operate and by local cultures of research in which the data they compare are produced.

Suggested Citation

Cotterrell, Roger, Comparative Sociology of Law (December 13, 2011). COMPARATIVE LAW AND SOCIETY, David S. Clark, ed., Cheltenham, UK: Edward Elgar Publishing, 2012; Queen Mary School of Law Legal Studies Research Paper No. 96/2011. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1971611

Roger Cotterrell (Contact Author)

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

Mile End Road
London, E1 4NS
United Kingdom
+44 (0)207 882 3936 (Phone)
+44(0)208 981 8733 (Fax)

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