Legal Culture vs. Legal Tradition – Different Epistemologies?

Maastricht European Private Law Institute Working Paper 2012/18

32 Pages Posted: 24 Nov 2012

See all articles by Jaakko Husa

Jaakko Husa

University of Helsinki - Faculty of Law

Date Written: November 23, 2012

Abstract

Many comparatists are using the concepts of ’legal culture’ and ’legal tradition’ as synonyms. However, Patrick Glenn has claimed that ‘legal culture’ should be used as an epistemological tool in comparative study of law. According to him, the epistemological main function of ‘legal culture’ has been to exist as a means of differentiation and to provide a conceptual tool that can be used to describe differences between things that are labelled as ‘culture’. Glenn has claimed that when we speak of ‘culture’ we speak of a country as a homogenous legal fiction. According to this view the concept of ‘legal culture’ is a conflictual concept whereas the concept of ‘legal tradition’ is epistemologically more tolerant. Glenn’s criticism of ‘legal culture’ is analysed critically in this article. The author claims that there is, in fact, no important difference between these concepts in epistemological sense. This article doubts that mere conceptual usage of ‘legal culture’ would contain automatically an epistemology of conflict.

Keywords: legal culture, legal tradition, epistemology, comparative law

JEL Classification: K10

Suggested Citation

Husa, Jaakko, Legal Culture vs. Legal Tradition – Different Epistemologies? (November 23, 2012). Maastricht European Private Law Institute Working Paper 2012/18. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2179890 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2179890

Jaakko Husa (Contact Author)

University of Helsinki - Faculty of Law ( email )

Porthania 5th Floor
P.O. Box 4
Helsinki, FIN-0001 4
Finland

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