Thursday, May 17, 2012

Tomlins on Critical Legal Histories

Christopher L. Tomlins has posted to SSRN a further analysis of Robert Gordon's "Critical Legal Histories," a much-cited and influential 1984 article available from the Yale Law School Digital Commons. 

Tomlins provides the following abstract of his article, What is Left of the Law and Society Paradigm after Critique"?  Revisiting Gordon's 'Critical Legal Histories':
For more than twenty-five years, Robert Gordon’s “Critical Legal Histories” has been savored by legal historians as one of the most incisive explanations available of what legal history can and should be. Gordon’s essay, however, is of significance to the course of sociolegal studies in general. This commentary offers an appreciation, and a critique, of “Critical Legal Histories.” It explores Gordon’s articulation of the central themes of critical legal studies, in particular his corrosion of functionalism and embrace of the indeterminacy thesis, and assesses the consequences for sociolegal and legal-historical analysis of the resultant stress on the contingency and complexity of social life.
Tomlins's article will appear in Law and Social Inquiry, Vol. 37, No. 1, p. 155, Winter 2012, and is available on SSRN at this link.