Realistic Socio-Legal Theory: Pragmatism and a Social Theory of Law

Paperback | June 15, 2000

byBrian Z. Tamanaha

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Drawing on philosophical pragmatism, Tamanaha formulates a framework for a realistic approach to socio-legal theory. The strengths of this approach are contrasted with that of the major schools of socio-legal theory by application to core issues in this area. Thus Tamanaha explores theproblematic state of socio-legal studies, the relationship between behaviour and meaning, the notion of legal ideology, the problem of indeterminacy in rule following and application, and the structure of judicial decision making. These issues are tackled in a clear and concise fashion whilearticulating a social theory of law that draws equally from legal theory and socio-legal theory. `This book provides a useful, and at times provocative, review of recent developments in legal theory. Because it covers considerable territory, it should be a good addition to one's professional library . . . there is much to commend in this book. It is well written, ably argued, and generallyknowledgeable. It treats controversial topics forthrightly . . .an excellent review of the legal theory literature. . . . It should provide a worthwhile venture into familiar debates rendered from a perspective that owes allegiance to no side.' Law and Politics Book Review `by any criterion and excellent book . . .Tamanaha has produced a work which should feature as a core text in jurisprudence courses' Oxford Journal of Legal Studies `This is the most significant piece of work for anybody in Jurisprudence, Socio-Legal Studies, or Legal Theory' Neil MacCormick `a rich insight into almost every question legal theory has vexed itself over the past twenty-five years' Stanley Fish

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Drawing on philosophical pragmatism, Tamanaha formulates a framework for a realistic approach to socio-legal theory. The strengths of this approach are contrasted with that of the major schools of socio-legal theory by application to core issues in this area. Thus Tamanaha explores theproblematic state of socio-legal studies, the rel...

Brian Z. Tamanaha is Assistant Professor of Law at St John's University School in New York. He has worked as a practising lawyer and was a public defender in Hawaii and an assistant Attorney-General in Micronesia.

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:296 pages, 8.5 × 5.43 × 0.67 inPublished:June 15, 2000Publisher:Oxford University Press

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0198298250

ISBN - 13:9780198298250

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Table of Contents

1. Introduction: The State of Socio-Legal Studies2. Pragmatism and Realistic Socio-Legal Studies3. Behaviourism and Interpretivism in Complement4. An Analytical Map of the Concept of Law5. A Social Theory of Law by Comparison to Legal Positivism6. The Internal/External Distinction and the Notion of a `Practice'7. Studies of Judicial Decision-Making8. Legal Theory and the Practice of JudgingThree Last WordsBibliographyIndex

Editorial Reviews

"Brian Tamanaha's thesis that pragmatism is essential because it is empty has the air of a paradox when first asserted; but in an elegantly persuasive argument he turns the paradox into a source of rich insight into almost every question legal theory has vexed itself with over the past twenty-fiveyears."--Stanley Fish"This book provides a useful, and at times provocative, review of recent developments in legal theory....It is well written, ably argued, and generally knowledgeable. It treats controversial topics forthrightly. For law and politics specialists who may not often tread onto legal theory ground, it isan excellent review of the legal theory literature....For those who consider themselves socio-legal scholars, of whatever epistemological persuasion, it should provide a worthwhile venture into familiar debates rendered from a perspective that owes allegiance to no side."--Law and Politics BookReview"If the social scientific study of law has a future, it must go beyond the Scylla of empiricism and the Charybdis of empty theorizing. This book shows how this is possible."--Dennis Patterson, Distinquished Professor, Rutgers University School of Law, and author of Law and Truth (OUP, 1996)