Is There a Canon of Law and Society?
Annual Review of Law & Society, Vol.9, 2013, pp.287-306
21 Pages Posted: 7 Nov 2013
Date Written: November 5, 2013
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.
Keywords: jurisprudence, sociolegal studies, law and society, disputing
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