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Law, Sociology and Method

Banakar, Reza LU and Travers, Max (2005) In Theory and Method in Socio-Legal Research p.1-26
Abstract
Socio-Legal research is, in some respects, founded on a paradox in that, while it claims or aspires to be an interdisciplinary subject with particular ties with sociology, the majority of its practitioners are based in law schools, and have not received any systematic training in either sociological theory or research methods. There are, of course, many academics from other disciplines who have contributed to the field over the years, and whose studies appear on undergraduate reading lists. There has also been genuine collaboration between academic lawyers and social scientists that has resulted in many interesting and insightful studies about law. Nevertheless, we would argue that this inter-change has been limited to a few institutions,... (More)
Socio-Legal research is, in some respects, founded on a paradox in that, while it claims or aspires to be an interdisciplinary subject with particular ties with sociology, the majority of its practitioners are based in law schools, and have not received any systematic training in either sociological theory or research methods. There are, of course, many academics from other disciplines who have contributed to the field over the years, and whose studies appear on undergraduate reading lists. There has also been genuine collaboration between academic lawyers and social scientists that has resulted in many interesting and insightful studies about law. Nevertheless, we would argue that this inter-change has been limited to a few institutions, and that a sustained and open dialogue with sociology, or for that matter with other academic disciplines, has not so far taken place. In this chapter we will consider the nature of socio-legal research, especially as it has developed in the UK, and the challenges of working in an interdisciplinary field. We will then introduce some general debates in sociology about method and show how these are relevant to studying sociolegal topics. We will conclude this chapter by referring to the Nuffield Foundation Inquiry on Empirical Research in Law which expresses concern for the ‘dwindling of capacity to undertake rigorous empirical research in law’. We will argue that to create a sound foundation for empirical research into law we need to introduce research methods and project work into the undergraduate law school curriculum, despite the current pressures in the direction of a narrow degree based almost entirely on studying legal rules. (Less)
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author
publishing date
type
Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceeding
publication status
published
subject
keywords
sociology of law, socio-legal research, methodology, epistemology, interdisciplinarity, positivism, law schools, legal education
in
Theory and Method in Socio-Legal Research
editor
Banakar, Reza and Travers, Max
pages
1 - 26
publisher
Hart Publishing Ltd
ISBN
9781841136264
language
English
LU publication?
no
id
69b72f17-ad1b-457f-b68b-89185eab2fde (old id 4537143)
alternative location
http://www.hartpub.co.uk/BookDetails.aspx?ISBN=9781841136257
date added to LUP
2014-07-09 08:42:54
date last changed
2016-06-29 09:19:27
@misc{69b72f17-ad1b-457f-b68b-89185eab2fde,
  abstract     = {Socio-Legal research is, in some respects, founded on a paradox in that, while it claims or aspires to be an interdisciplinary subject with particular ties with sociology, the majority of its practitioners are based in law schools, and have not received any systematic training in either sociological theory or research methods. There are, of course, many academics from other disciplines who have contributed to the field over the years, and whose studies appear on undergraduate reading lists. There has also been genuine collaboration between academic lawyers and social scientists that has resulted in many interesting and insightful studies about law. Nevertheless, we would argue that this inter-change has been limited to a few institutions, and that a sustained and open dialogue with sociology, or for that matter with other academic disciplines, has not so far taken place. In this chapter we will consider the nature of socio-legal research, especially as it has developed in the UK, and the challenges of working in an interdisciplinary field. We will then introduce some general debates in sociology about method and show how these are relevant to studying sociolegal topics. We will conclude this chapter by referring to the Nuffield Foundation Inquiry on Empirical Research in Law which expresses concern for the ‘dwindling of capacity to undertake rigorous empirical research in law’. We will argue that to create a sound foundation for empirical research into law we need to introduce research methods and project work into the undergraduate law school curriculum, despite the current pressures in the direction of a narrow degree based almost entirely on studying legal rules.},
  author       = {Banakar, Reza and Travers, Max},
  editor       = {Banakar, Reza and Travers, Max},
  isbn         = {9781841136264},
  keyword      = {sociology of law,socio-legal research,methodology,epistemology,interdisciplinarity,positivism,law schools,legal education},
  language     = {eng},
  pages        = {1--26},
  publisher    = {ARRAY(0xa3cd568)},
  series       = {Theory and Method in Socio-Legal Research},
  title        = {Law, Sociology and Method},
  year         = {2005},
}