Towards an Economic Sociology of Law
April 2013, Wiley-Blackwell
Reflecting a developing trend towards interdisciplinary research in economics and law, this agenda-setting volume makes the case for economic sociology of law – an emerging field that draws on empirical, analytical and normative insights from sociology to investigate relationships between legal and economic phenomena. It locates this novel subject in a wider socio-legal tradition and identifies common ground between Polanyian and Weberian approaches to the law, economy, and society, despite the two theorists’ divergent views on the functionality of the capitalist model. The volume provides a platform for researchers’ critical responses to the ‘social embeddedness’ of market societies.
Contributors demonstrate the value of applying a combination of methods in their work, from heterogeneous disciplines such as legal history and ethnography. They consider the position in the western and developed nations, as well as in post-colonial polities. The resulting publication is a well-crafted primer on a specialism that, by combining the insights of socio-economic analysis with the formative influences exerted by their specific legal contexts, informs a more nuanced assessment of law, economics and society.
Introduction: Moving Towards an Economic Sociology of Law (Diamond Ashiagbor, Prabha Kotiswaran and Amanda Perry-Kessaris)
1. From Credit to Crisis: Max Weber, Karl Polanyi, and the Other Side of the Coin (Sabine Frerichs)
2. Relational Work and the Law: Recapturing the Legal Realist Critique of Market Fundamentalism (Fred Block)
3. Rethinking ‘Embeddedness’: Law, Economy, Community (Roger Cotterrell)
4. Anemos-ity, Apatheia, Enthousiasmos: An Economic Sociology of Law and Wind Farm Development in Cyprus (Amanda Perry-Kessaris)
5. Maine (and Weber) Against the Grain: Towards a Postcolonial Genealogy of the Corporate Person (Ritu Birla)
6. Do Feminists Need an Economic Sociology of Law? (Prabha Kotiswaran)
7. Law, Social Policy, and the Constitution of Markets and Profit Making (Kenneth Veitch)
8. The Legal Construction of Economic Rationalities? (Andrew T.F. Lang)
Diamond Ashiagbor is Professor of Labour Law at SOAS, University of London. Widely published in the fields of labour and employment law, human rights, multiculturalism, and development, she won the Society of Legal Scholars’ Prize for Outstanding Legal Scholarship for her book The European Employment Strategy: Labour Market Regulation and New Governance (2005). Prof Ashiagbor received the Fernand Braudel Senior Fellowship in 2011, as well as the EU-US Fulbright Research Award.
Prabha Kotiswaran is Senior Lecturer in Criminal Law at the Dickson Poon School of Law, King’s College London. With research interests in criminal law, feminist legal theory and the sociology of law, her most recent volume, Dangerous Sex, Invisible Labor: Sex Work and the Law in India (2011), won the SLSA-Hart Prize for early-career academics. Her current work explores the evolving jurisprudence of anti-trafficking law, and the regulation of markets in social reproduction.
Amanda Perry-Kessaris is Professor of International Economic Law at SOAS, University of London, and has studied law, economics and ethnography. She is currently focusing on the analytical potential of Economic Sociology of Law for the field of law and development and graphic design as a method of communication in that field. She has previously been funded by the British Academy to study the impact of economics on law and development; and the Leverhulme Trust and the Socio-Legal Studies Association to investigate the role of the Indian legal system as a mediator of foreign investment relations. She is secretary to the Socio-Legal Studies Association.