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Socio-legal researchers increasingly recognise the need to employ a wide variety of methods in studying law and legal phenomena, and the need to be informed by an understanding of debates about theory and method in mainstream social science. The papers in this volume illustrate how a range of topics, including EU law, ombudsmen, judges, lawyers, Shariah Councils and the quality assurance industry can be researched from a socio-legal perspective. The objective of the collection is to show how different methods can be used in researching law and legal phenomena, how methodological issues and debates in sociology are relevant to the study of law, and the importance of the debate between "structural" and "action" traditions in researching law. It also approaches the methodological problem of how sociology of law can address the content of legal practice from a variety of perspectives and discusses the relationship between pure and applied research. The editors provide a critical introduction to each of the six sections, and a general introduction on law, sociology and method. The collection will provide an invaluable resource for socio-legal researchers, law school researchers and postgraduates.
Perhaps more than any other social theorist in recent history, Niklas Luhmann's work has aroused extreme, and often antagonistic, responses. It has generated controversies about its political implications, its resolute anti-humanism and its ambitious critique of more established definitions of society, social theory and sociology. Now, however, a steadily growing number of scholars working in many different disciplines have begun to use aspects of Luhmann's sociology as an important methodological stimulus and as a theoretical framework for reorientating their studies. This collection of essays includes critical and reconstructive contributions by a number of distinguished social theorists, political theorists, legal scholars and empirical sociologists. Together, they provide evidence of Luhmann's extensive and diverse relevance to the issues facing contemporary society, and, at the same time, they enhance our understanding of the challenges posed by his theoretical paradigm to more traditional conceptions of social theory.
The expression 'the criminal question' does not at present have much currency in English-language criminology. The term was carried across from Italian debates about the orientation of criminology, and in particular debates about what came to be called critical criminology. One definition offered early in the debate described it as 'an area constituted by actions, institutions, policies and discourses whose boundaries shift'. According to this writer, crime, and the cultural and symbolic significance carried by law and criminal justice, is an integral aspect of the criminal question. 'The criminal question' draws attention to the specific location and constitution of a given field of forces, and the themes, issues, dilemmas and debates that compose it. At the same time it enables connections to be made between these embedded realities and the wider, conceivably global, contours of influence and flows of power with which it connects. This in turn raises many questions. How far do the responses to crime and punishment internationally flow from and owe their contemporary shape to the cultural and economic transformations now widely known as 'globalisation'? How can something that is in significant ways embedded, situated, and locally produced also travel? What is not in doubt is that it does travel - and travel with serious consequences. The international circulation of discourses and practices has become a pressing issue for scholars who try to understand their operation in their own particular cultural contexts. This collection of essays seeks a constructive comparative view of these tendencies to convergence and divergence.
This set of essays engages with some aspects of Foucault's notion of governmentality, particularly at the junction where law/regulation meets the social. The social, as a special sphere of government, is a special area of concern for those working within broad intellectual spaces of the governmentality approach. Is it the basis of modern liberal systems of government? Is it dead, or even feeling unwell? Has it spawned hybrid forms of government like neo-liberalism, neo-conservatism, or even neo-socialism? In making their presence felt in the debates that have flourished around such questions, especially by highlighting the subtleties of the roles played by law and regulation in the governance of the social, the authors of the essays - David Brown; Jo Goodie; Russell Hogg and Kerry Carrington; Jeff Malpas; Pat O'Malley; George Pavlich; Annette Pedersen; Kevin Stenson; and William Walters - range widely. There are pieces on liberal government and resistance to it, some on particular targets of this government, like unemployment, crime, law and order, and even Australian geography, environment and cultural products, and some that delve into philosophical/methodological issues.
This collection of socio-legal studies, written by leading theorists and researchers from around the world, offers original, perceptive and critical contributions to ideas and theories that have been expounded by Roger Cotterrell over a long and distinguished career. Engaging with many classic issues and theories of the sociology of law, the contributions are likely to become classics themselves as they tackle some of the most significant challenges that modern law faces. They do not shy away from what one of the contributors describes as the complexity and multiplicity of our contemporary legal world. The book is organized in three parts: socio-legal themes; methodological and jurisprudential themes; globalization, cultural and comparative law themes. Starting with a chapter that re-engages with the need to interpret legal ideas sociologically, and ending with one that explores the global significance of modern fascination with the idea of the rule of law, this selection offers important additions to the oeuvre of Roger Cotterrell (a list of whose academic writings is included in the book).
Using original empirical data and critiquing existing research, Samia Bano explores the experience of British Muslim woman who use Shari'ah councils to resolve marital disputes. She challenges the language of community rights and claims for legal autonomy in matters of family law showing how law and community can empower as well as restrict women.
Drawing from a wide range of material and socio-legal methods, this collection brings together original essays, written by internationally renowned scholars, investigating emerging patterns in the shape and form of the legal regulation of domestic relations. Taking as a focus the theme of 'caring and sharing', the collection includes chapters which reflect on the changing contours of what we think of as 'domestic relations'; the impact which legal recognition carries in making visible some relationships rather than others; the potential for normative values carried within patterns of legal recognition and regulation; intersections between private law and public policy; the role of private law in the allocation of responsibility and privilege; the differential impact of seemingly progressive policies on economically vulnerable or socially marginal groupings; tensions between family law models and models carried within other fields of private law; and, unusually, architectures in law and the built environment designed to facilitate broader accounts of domestic relationships. This thoughtful, provocative and wide-ranging collection will be a must for anyone, whatever their discipline background, interested in the insights and potential offered by a fresh engagement with the complexity of domestic relations and the law. Authors: Anne Barlow, Anne Bottomley, Susan Boyd and Cindy Baldassi, Alison Diduck, Susan Scott-Hunt, Nan Seuffert, Carol Smart, Simone Wong and Claire Young.

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