The Force of Law and lawyers – University of Copenhagen

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08 November 2012

The Force of Law and lawyers

Mikael Rask Madsen

New article by Mikael Rask Madsen and Yves Dezalay

25 years after the publication of Pierre Bourdieu's seminal article "The Force of Law and lawyers", Mikael Rask Madsen and Yves Dezalay look back and inquire into the background for the weak reception of his work in law and society studies. They argue that the differences in the conceptions of law, state, and society between US law and society scholarship and French historical sociology have made it hard to transfer the theory across the Atlantic.

The impact of Bourdieu's work has generally been reduced by how it has been perceived as merely yet another French theory. It has thus been decoupled from perhaps its greatest strength, namely, the underlying notion of sociology as a reflexive practice. Against this background, this article sets out to reconnect the practice of Bourdieusian sociology with its conceptual framework and, in so doing, demonstrate its potentially central role in the sociology of law.

Read more in Mikael Rask Madsen and Yves Dezalay: The Force of Law and Lawyers: Pierre Bourdieu and the Reflexive Sociology of Law p. 433-452 in John Hagan, Kim Lane Scheppele and Tom R. Tyler (ed.): Annual Review of Law and Social Science, vol.8.