The Presence and Absence of Legal Mind: A Commentary on Duncan Kennedy's 'Three Globalizations of Law and Legal Thought, 1850-2000'

23 Pages Posted: 31 Jan 2015

See all articles by Christopher Tomlins

Christopher Tomlins

University of California, Berkeley - Jurisprudence and Social Policy Program

Date Written: January 29, 2015

Abstract

In the last couple of years Duncan Kennedy’s 2006 essay, “Three Globalizations of Law and Legal Thought: 1850-2000,” has been used to kickstart a debate on the nature of “contemporary legal thought” through workshops organized at the University of Colorado Law School and at Harvard Law School. This is a debate that will continue. In this commentary I consider whether “Three Globalizations” supplies a credible history for the contemporary. Returning to his famous “The Rise and Fall of Classical Legal Thought,” Kennedy’s “Three Globalizations” considers the international dissemination of classical legal thought, and of its successor (socially-oriented legal thought). It also sketches the outlines of a third globalization – modern legal consciousness – apparent in the wake of the decomposition of social-oriented legal thought after 1968. My commentary argues that legal historians should take Kennedy’s work very seriously as legal history, but also that strange bedfellows – Milton Friedman and Michel Foucault - may provide an equally persuasive guide to contemporary legal thought.

Keywords: Duncan Kennedy, Michel Foucault, Milton Friedman, Legal Thought, Globalization, Legal History

JEL Classification: A11, A12, A13, B2, B3, N01

Suggested Citation

Tomlins, Christopher, The Presence and Absence of Legal Mind: A Commentary on Duncan Kennedy's 'Three Globalizations of Law and Legal Thought, 1850-2000' (January 29, 2015). Law and Contemporary Problems, Vol. 78, No. 1, 2015; UC Berkeley Public Law Research Paper No. 2557668. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2557668

Christopher Tomlins (Contact Author)

University of California, Berkeley - Jurisprudence and Social Policy Program ( email )

Berkeley, CA 94720-7200
United States

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