Practicing What You Preach Against?
Karl Llewellyn, Legal Realism,
and The Cheyenne Way
Scott LandersIn The Cheyenne Way
, Karl Llewellyn and Edward Hoebel asserted that
they applied a legal realist methodology in their study of nineteenth-century
Cheyenne legal culture.
Their methodology involves a behavioral approach to studying law, focusing on "cases of trouble and how they were
This methodology is contrasted with what they call an "ideological" approach that emphasizes " 'rules' which are felt as proper for
channeling and controlling behavior."
Although Llewellyn may not have
denounced so much as urged supplementing an ideological or doctrinal
he significantly underestimated its importance and the extent to
which such an approach underpins his own methods.In this chapter I assess the extent to which Karl Llewellyn and Edward
Hoebel failed to adopt a genuinely non-ideological approach in investigating nineteenth-century Cheyenne dispute-settlement processes and offer a
partial analysis of why any similar attempt would be likely to fail. If this
assessment and analysis are correct, they support the following conclusions:
|1. ||It is misleading for Llewellyn to characterize his method as an alternative to an
|2. ||The sort of empirical study of law advocated by Llewellyn has value for
jurisprudence only to the extent that it can fit within the general theoretical
framework of rule-centered jurisprudence; and|