This paper discusses the legal theory of the Austrian jurist Eugen Ehrlich, the best-known of a number of European law professors who set out to establish sociology of law as a new science at the beginning of the twentieth century. Situating his work in the context of his personal circumstances and career, and also in relation to historical conditions in the closing years of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, the paper considers the reception of Ehrlich's scholarship in the English-speaking world, and the aims of his legal thought. His achievement as an influential pioneer in a new field, and as a thinker of great originality, is highlighted. But it is also argued here that a complex combination of intellectual and professional centrality and marginality in Ehrlich's position explains much about the uncertainties and ambiguities of his approach to law.
Also of possible interest: Assaf Likhovski presented a related paper at the 2004 Law and Society annual meeting: Law at the Margin: Eugen Ehrlich, Roscoe Pound and the Provincial Origins of Sociological Jurisprudence.