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
8 Pages Posted: 26 Aug 2013
Date Written: August 26, 2013
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
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