Sociological Jurisprudence Past and Present

54 Pages Posted: 28 Mar 2019 Last revised: 14 Sep 2020

See all articles by Brian Z. Tamanaha

Brian Z. Tamanaha

Washington University in St. Louis - School of Law

Date Written: March 11, 2019


Through the mid-twentieth century, jurisprudents considered sociological jurisprudence to be one of the most influential theories of law in the United States. By end of the century, however, it had virtually disappeared. The publication of Roger Cotterrell’s Sociological Jurisprudence (2018) provides an occasion to examine what this theory of law was about, why it disappeared, and its prospects for revival. The topics covered are the circumstances surrounding the origin of sociological jurisprudence, the tenets of sociological jurisprudence, the successes of sociological jurisprudence, its relationship with sociology of law, its relationship with legal realism, its place in contemporary jurisprudence, and finally, the need to keep jurisprudence open.

Keywords: Jurisprudence, Law and Society, Legal Theory, Legal History, Sociology of Law, Legal Education

Suggested Citation

Tamanaha, Brian Z., Sociological Jurisprudence Past and Present (March 11, 2019). Law and Social Inquiry, Forthcoming, Washington University in St. Louis Legal Studies Research Paper No. 19-03-01, Available at SSRN:

Brian Z. Tamanaha (Contact Author)

Washington University in St. Louis - School of Law ( email )

Campus Box 1120
St. Louis, MO 63130
United States

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