chapter  9
The Politics of Legalism
ByThomas F. Burke, Jeb Barnes
Pages 13

The chapters in this book attest to the scope and diversity of legalism(s). From California prisons to European bureaucracies, Australian coal mines to Russia’s mean streets, from lawsuits against racial discrimination and the carnage caused by tobacco to regulations on data privacy, this book illustrates the vast and befuddling range of phenomena scholars aim to generalize about when they investigate “law.” The challenge of such scholarship is, recent accounts suggest, growing by the day; Ran Hirschl contends that the increasing prominence of courts and litigation in politics across nations is “arguably one of the most significant developments in late twentieth and early twenty-first century governance” (2008, p. 69). What are scholars to do when, as Robert Kagan once asked in an article (1995), there is too much law to study? We find answers in the approach pioneered in part by Kagan, and each of the chapters in this book reflects some aspect of this approach. In this conclusion, we look back at the lessons learned from the chapters, and look forward to the ways in which scholars might further advance our understanding of the causes and consequences of the growth of law across the globe.