Is There a Canon of Law and Society?
University of California, Irvine School of Law; Department of Criminology, Law & Society
Susan Bibler Coutin
University of California, Irvine School of Law
Pauline White Meeusen
University of California, Irvine - Department of Criminology, Law and Society
November 5, 2013
Annual Review of Law & Society, Vol.9, 2013, pp.287-306
UC Irvine School of Law Research Paper No. 2013-153
As an interdisciplinary field, law and society has an ambivalent relationship with the notion of a canon: Being a field requires having a recognized set of key texts, even as this particular field’s critique of doctrinal legal analysis creates an openness toward alternative perspectives. Within the interdisciplinary field of law and society itself, there is debate about the breadth of disciplines relevant to this domain of inquiry. To explore this tension, we analyze three sources: (a) addresses delivered by presidents of the US Law and Society Association (LSA), (b) LSA meeting calls, and (c) law and society/social science syllabi. Presidential addresses and meeting calls demonstrate how the boundaries of the field are established and contested, and course syllabi suggest a degree of consensus about key works.We conclude by discussing other national and regional research traditions and note that these critique law and society/social sciences canons for being overly United States focused or Eurocentric. We argue that such contestation underscores the health and vibrancy of law and society research.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 21
Keywords: jurisprudence, sociolegal studies, law and society, disputing
Date posted: November 7, 2013