Socio-legal Studies: Between Policy and Community
Socio-legal scholarship shows through systematic behavioural studies what law as institutionalised doctrine means in the varied local contexts of social life, where its ultimate value and significance must be judged. Yet the field of socio-legal studies is undoubtedly in a transition phase in which there is much radical rethinking to do. This chapter is intended as a contribution towards that rethinking. It involves trying to set the tasks of socio-legal research in the context of the changing general character of legal regulation today. Can socio-legal research say anything about justice? Can it engage directly and effectively with contemporary legal debates, in the sense of debates about what legal doctrine and practices should be rather than what legal agencies in fact do? This chapter looks at policy and community in socio-legal studies as well as the concept of moral distance.
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