Theory and Method in Socio-Legal Research
Socio-legal researchers increasingly recognize the need to employ a wide variety of methods in studying law and legal phenomena, and that this needs to be informed by an understanding of debates about theory and method in mainstream social science. This collection illustrates 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 not, however, simply to present an interesting set of papers, but to use them to explore how different methods can be used in researching law and legal phenomena, and how methodological issues and debates in sociology are relevant to the study of law. A central theme is the debate between "structural" and "action" traditions in researching law. The collection also approaches the methodological problem of how sociology of law can address the content of legal practice, as a lawyer understands this, from a variety of perspectives. There is also discussion of the relationship between pure and applied research. The editors have provided a critical introduction to each of the six sections, and a general introduction on law, sociology, and method. The collection will provide a useful resource for socio-legal researchers wishing to improve the quality of their empirical work, and for law school researchers and postgraduates interested in the relationship between law and sociology.
Publication Date: 12/30/2005