chapter  2
26 Pages

Traditions of studying the social and the legal

A short introduction to the institutional and intellectual development of socio-legal studies
WithNaomi Creutzfeldt

In this chapter I trace the development of the field of socio-legal studies over the past 50 years. In a quest for an understanding of how law, culture, and social structures interact, we travel across the globe. The study of socio-legal phenomena opens up an enquiry into a range of spaces to study the intersection between law and society: legal systems, disputing behaviour, decision-making, juries and judges, the role of authorities, and so forth. With a focus on change to institutional history and evolution, I highlight key moments that show how institutions have shaped socio-legal development. In a modest attempt to provide a glimpse of socio-legal studies I divide this chapter into two parts. The first part maps the development of socio-legal studies through national institutions. The second part draws upon lived wisdom of pioneers of the socio-legal movements of our time, sharing stories that usually remain hidden from a general audience. It is important for the continuing development of scholarly knowledge for the field to consider its history and to explore motivations, struggles and journeys into the socio-legal situation today.