Law As Object of Attachment: From Durkheim to the Simpson Trials and Back Again

Queen Mary School of Law Legal Studies Research Paper No. 328/2020

Presented at the Law and Society Association Meetings, St Louis, Missouri, May 30 1997, and at the Nordic Forum for the Sociology of Law, Landskrona, Sweden, June 9 1997.

27 Pages Posted: 7 Feb 2020

See all articles by Roger Cotterrell

Roger Cotterrell

Queen Mary University of London, School of Law

Date Written: 1997

Abstract

This previously unpublished paper explores three themes relevant to current socio-legal research. First, it addresses, from a Durkheimian perspective and using a concrete judicial illustration, relationships between popular convictions and the communicative responsibilities of courts. Second, it examines the ambiguities and contradictions of Durkheim’s idea of individualism as a unifying value system (partly expressed in terms of human rights) for contemporary societies. Third, it attempts to show, in a specific empirical context, the theoretical significance of Durkheim’s still often underestimated sociology of law and morals for current socio-legal research and legal theory.

‘Postmodernism’ has lost ground as an analytical framework in legal debate, and the sensational criminal case referred to in the paper is now a historical reference rather than, as it was at the time of writing, a legal event dominating public opinion in unprecedented fashion. However, the central themes of the paper retain their salience for contemporary socio-legal inquiry.

Keywords: Durkheim, judicial process, moral individualism, O. J. Simpson, popular legal consciousness, sociology of law

Suggested Citation

Cotterrell, Roger, Law As Object of Attachment: From Durkheim to the Simpson Trials and Back Again (1997). Queen Mary School of Law Legal Studies Research Paper No. 328/2020, Presented at the Law and Society Association Meetings, St Louis, Missouri, May 30 1997, and at the Nordic Forum for the Sociology of Law, Landskrona, Sweden, June 9 1997. , Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3533114 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3533114

Roger Cotterrell (Contact Author)

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

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