Leon Petrazycki and Contemporary Socio-Legal Studies

Published in International Journal of Law in Context, Volume 11, No. 1 (2015), pp. 1-16

Queen Mary School of Law Legal Studies Research Paper No. 201/2015

23 Pages Posted: 23 May 2015 Last revised: 27 May 2015

See all articles by Roger Cotterrell

Roger Cotterrell

Queen Mary University of London, School of Law

Date Written: May 21, 2015

Abstract

The work of the Polish-Russian scholar Leon Petrażycki from the early decades of the twentieth century holds a strikingly paradoxical position in the literature of juristic and socio-legal scholarship: on the one hand, lauded as a supremely valuable contribution to knowledge about the nature of law and, on the other, widely neglected and little known. This article asks how far Petrażycki’s theories, expressed in writings by and about him available to an international readership, can provide insight for contemporary socio-legal studies – not as historical background but as living ideas. How far can his work speak to current issues and inform current debates? What obstacles stand in the way of this? Why have few international scholars engaged with his theories despite their rigour and originality? The article starts from this last issue before addressing the others. It argues that Petrażycki’s radical legal theory offers strikingly distinctive resources for rethinking issues about the role of law in multicultural societies, the nature of developing transnational law, and the significance of law as an aspect or expression of culture.

Keywords: Leon Petrażycki; socio-legal studies; law and morality; legal pluralism; cultural pluralism; Pitirim Sorokin; Georges Gurvitch; Nicholas Timasheff; transnational law; law and culture

Suggested Citation

Cotterrell, Roger, Leon Petrazycki and Contemporary Socio-Legal Studies (May 21, 2015). Published in International Journal of Law in Context, Volume 11, No. 1 (2015), pp. 1-16, Queen Mary School of Law Legal Studies Research Paper No. 201/2015, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2609155

Roger Cotterrell (Contact Author)

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

Mile End Road
London, E1 4NS
United Kingdom
+44 (0)207 882 3936 (Phone)
+44(0)208 981 8733 (Fax)

Do you have a job opening that you would like to promote on SSRN?

Paper statistics

Downloads
153
Abstract Views
920
rank
238,207
PlumX Metrics