Recht der Werkelijkheid

Miscellaneous

Developments in socio-legal studies: subjects and methodologies – the Anglo-Saxon model

Trefwoorden socio-legal, neo-liberal, legal aid
Auteurs Hilary Sommerlad
Auteursinformatie

292552 Hilary Sommerlad
Hilary Sommerlad is professor of Law and Research Director of the Centre for Professional Legal Education and Research, University of Birmingham, and Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences. Dr. Sommerlad’s research interests are access to justice, the cultural practices of the professional workplace and diversity. She is Articles Editor of Legal Ethics, and serves on the editorial boards of the Journal of Law and Society and the International Journal of the Legal Profession.
  • Samenvatting

      In the course of it short existence, Socio-legal studies (SLS) in the Anglo-Saxon world has burgeoned into a rich and variegated field. Reviewing it is therefore a challenging task. I begin with some general reflections and an outline of recent developments. Although these indicate an extremely vibrant field, concerns have been expressed for the future. In my discussion of these, I argue that our analysis of SLS needs to be historicised since the emergence of SLS is connected to processes of social modernization and democratization. The erosion of these processes by neo-liberal discourses and policies is the background to a discussion of my own research into the impact of the cuts to civil legal aid in England and Wales. This leads me to conclude that the fundamental dissonance between neo-liberal rationality and social science may portend a difficult future, in particular for empirical work; however, I note too that other developments such as the ongoing juridification of society and new social media may make continued SL engagement irresistible.

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