Towards a Fruitful Cooperation between Legal Philosophy, Legal Sociology and Doctrinal Research: How Legal Interactionism May Bridge Unproductive Oppositions

Forthcoming in Festschrist Roger Cotterrell

Erasmus Working Paper Series on Jurisprudence and Socio-Legal Studies No. 14-02

18 Pages Posted: 7 Oct 2014

See all articles by Sanne Taekema

Sanne Taekema

Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR), Erasmus School of Law

Wibren van der Burg

Erasmus School of Law, Erasmus University Rotterdam; Queen Mary University of London, School of Law

Date Written: September 1, 2014

Abstract

Taking our cue from Roger Cotterrell, we believe that legal philosophy, legal sociology and doctrinal legal scholarship can and should be co-workers in order to gain a full understanding of law in all its facets. In this article, the problems of integrating legal philosophy, legal sociology and doctrinal research are considered. We want to address one important difference that often frustrates successful co-operation between legal sociologists, legal philosophers, and doctrinal researchers. That difference is that they rely on different – implicit or explicit – understandings of law, on different concepts and definitions.

We can discern four basic oppositions regarding the understanding of law. The most basic opposition is that which has become known under the slightly misleading title of law in the books versus law in action. The second is that between monism and pluralism.The third is that between a focus on the variable and changing characteristics of law and a focus on law as timeless or static.The fourth is that between instrumentalist and non-instrumentalist views of law.

It is important to find ways to transcend these oppositions or at least to understand them as emphasising different aspects of one common framework in order to transcend the divide between legal philosophy and legal sociology.

Our claim is that legal interactionism provides such a theoretical approach as it offers a means to overcome these four oppositions. Legal interactionism accepts both interactional law and enacted law as law. Therefore, it is very oecumenical in spirit. This broad approach enables us to understand the different poles as part of a full analysis of law, and offers perspectives for integrating the partial insights that a focus on merely one pole can provide.

Keywords: legal interactionism, interdisciplinary legal research, legal philosophy, legal sociology, doctrinal research,

Suggested Citation

Taekema, Sanne and van der Burg, Wibren, Towards a Fruitful Cooperation between Legal Philosophy, Legal Sociology and Doctrinal Research: How Legal Interactionism May Bridge Unproductive Oppositions (September 1, 2014). Erasmus Working Paper Series on Jurisprudence and Socio-Legal Studies No. 14-02. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2503902

Sanne Taekema (Contact Author)

Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR), Erasmus School of Law ( email )

3000 DR Rotterdam
Netherlands

Wibren Van der Burg

Erasmus School of Law, Erasmus University Rotterdam ( email )

Section Sociology, Theory and Methodology
PO Box 1738
3000 DR Rotterdam
Netherlands

HOME PAGE: http://www.wibrenvanderburg.nl

Queen Mary University of London, School of Law ( email )

Mile End Road
London, E1 4NS
United Kingdom

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