Law's Community: Legal Theory in Sociological Perspective

Law's Community: Legal Theory in Sociological Perspective

Law's Community: Legal Theory in Sociological Perspective

Law's Community: Legal Theory in Sociological Perspective

Synopsis

Law's Community offers a distinctive analysis of law, identifying political and moral problems that are fundamental to contemporary legal theory. It portrays contemporary law as institutionalized doctrine, emphasizing ways in which legal modes of thought influence wider currents of understanding and belief in contemporary Western societies. Exploring relationships between law and sociology as contrasting and competing fields of knowledge, Law's Community develops ideas from social theory to identify key problems for legal development; in particular, those of restoring moral authority to law and of elaborating a concept of community that can guide legal regulation. The analysis leads to radical conclusions: among them, that law's functions need reconsideration at the most general level, that a unitary state legal system as portrayed in traditional kinds of legal theory may no longer be adequate in complex contemporary societies, and that law should be reconceptualized as a diverse but co-ordinated plurality of systems, sites, and forms of regulation.

Excerpt

It is now sixteen years since the first books appeared in the original series of Oxford Socio-Legal Studies. The first eight were published by Macmillan, but since 1983 the series has carried the Oxford University Press imprint. In the last twelve years, a further twenty-two volumes have appeared. While the series is now well- established, the appearance of three more works--Roger Cotterrell's Law's Community, Rules and Government, by Robert Baldwin and Wills, Inheritance, and the Family by Finch Masson, Mason, Haynes, and Wallis--marks a new beginning. Oxford Socio-Legal Studies will now have a wider institutional basis and a broader sweep in its intellectual interests. The series will continue to be comprised of original works which examine the nature of law in its social setting from a variety of disciplinary perspectives, but it is intended that it will also be one which publishes theoretical, as well as empirically-informed works of high quality, and one which is international in scope. Professor John Baldwin, Director of the Institute for Judicial Administration at the University of Birmingham, Professor William Felstiner of the University of California at Santa Barbara, and Professor Simon Roberts of the London School of Economics are joining the existing Editorial Board, and an International Advisory Board has also been appointed.

Roger Cotterrell Law's Community reflects one important aspect of the extension of the new series' intellectual scope. Professor Cotterrell is highly respected in Britain and abroad as a distinguished analyst of legal theory and the sociology of law. Law's Community consists of a series of original essays by the author, some of which have previously been published, some of which are appearing for the first time. The previously published essays have been edited by the author and integrated into the course of the book's argument, giving it coherence, while maintaining the integrity of the earlier work. What now appears represents a consistent approach to the theoretical analysis of law, reflecting the author's position that law has to be analyzed as a social phenomenon.

Professor Cotterrell has a number of objectives: to explore legal theory as an aspect of social theory; to identify aspects of law that . . .

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