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What is Left of the Law and Society Paradigm after Critique? Revisiting Gordon’s 'Critical Legal Histories'

13 Pages Posted: 4 Apr 2012  

Christopher Tomlins

University of California, Berkeley - Jurisprudence and Social Policy Program

Date Written: 2012

Abstract

For more than twenty-five years, Robert Gordon’s “Critical Legal Histories” has been savored by legal historians as one of the most incisive explanations available of what legal history can and should be. Gordon’s essay, however, is of significance to the course of sociolegal studies in general. This commentary offers an appreciation, and a critique, of “Critical Legal Histories.” It explores Gordon’s articulation of the central themes of critical legal studies, in particular his corrosion of functionalism and embrace of the indeterminacy thesis, and assesses the consequences for sociolegal and legal-historical analysis of the resultant stress on the contingency and complexity of social life.

Suggested Citation

Tomlins, Christopher, What is Left of the Law and Society Paradigm after Critique? Revisiting Gordon’s 'Critical Legal Histories' (2012). Law and Social Inquiry, Vol. 37, No. 1, p. 155, Winter 2012; UC Irvine School of Law Research Paper No. 2012-21. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2034435

Christopher Lawrence Tomlins (Contact Author)

University of California, Berkeley - Jurisprudence and Social Policy Program ( email )

Berkeley, CA 94720-7200
United States

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