Ant's Eye-View of Law: Bruno Latour at the Conseil D'État

Published in Journal of Classical Sociology Vol. 11, 2011, pp. 506-10

Queen Mary School of Law Legal Studies Research Paper No. 155/2013

8 Pages Posted: 26 Aug 2013

See all articles by Roger Cotterrell

Roger Cotterrell

Queen Mary University of London, School of Law

Date Written: August 26, 2013

Abstract

This paper, a review of Bruno Latour's book The Making of Law, expresses doubts about the utility of actor-network theory, defended by Latour, as an approach to social inquiry and especially as an approach to the study of law as a complex of social practices. Latour's rich ethnography of the French Conseil d'État presents, as strange and exotic, a seemingly self-contained legal world which appears to create its social relations and perspectives entirely through 'internal' processes. But a convincing sociology of law must combine both macro and micro understandings of the social. Law, seen as networks of practice, must also be seen as operating within environments of experience and understanding permeated by social forces that originate beyond those networks.

Keywords: Actor-network theory, sociology of law, Conseil d'Etat, judicial practice, legal discourse, autonomy of law, systems theory

Suggested Citation

Cotterrell, Roger, Ant's Eye-View of Law: Bruno Latour at the Conseil D'État (August 26, 2013). Published in Journal of Classical Sociology Vol. 11, 2011, pp. 506-10, Queen Mary School of Law Legal Studies Research Paper No. 155/2013, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2315963

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