Conducting Law and Society Research: Reflections on Methods by Simon Halliday, Patrick Schmidt

By Simon Halliday, Patrick Schmidt

Via interviews with a number of the so much noteworthy authors in legislations and Society, undertaking legislation and Society study takes scholars and students backstage of empirical scholarship, exhibiting the messy truth of analysis equipment. The demanding situations and the uncertainties, so frequently lacking from learn tools textbooks, are published in candid aspect. those available and revealing conversations concerning the lived truth of vintage initiatives should be a resource of encouragement and suggestion to these embarking on empirical study, ranging around the complete array of disciplines that give a contribution to legislations and Society. For the entire ambiguities and demanding situations to the social "scientific" research of legislations, the reflections present in this publication - jointly shooting a portrait of the sector throughout the window of the learn efforts - separately remind readers that "good learn" monitors no longer a scarcity of difficulties, however the care taken in negotiating them.

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When I arrived in Madison in 1957, the law faculty often went to talks by sociologists who were interested in the criminal law and had something to say about it. While no one suggested my specific project, a law-in-action approach certainly was in the air at Wisconsin in the late 1950s and early 1960s. Hurst called on his contacts, and I traveled to the East Coast to talk with his friends Talcott and Bob – Talcott Parsons and Robert Merton. They were very sympathetic and helpful, and I got two long reading assignments.

However, Johnson never lacked a can. Those three firms owed it help when Johnson faced difficulty. Doesn’t this story sum up relational contracts? The story got me talking with him, and he said, “Well, you think that it’s just me? ” So he sent me to speak to other business people. Question: How did that connect with your research interests at the time? Macaulay: I was interested in legal realism, and it pointed toward the consequences of law. ” That is, they 15 CONDUCTING LAW AND SOCIETY RESEARCH had to have an informed intuition to find the substantively right result.

I thought that if you wanted to understand contracts, you had to “ride along” with business people and their lawyers. Moreover, Willard Hurst, the great legal historian, was a major influence on many of us at Wisconsin. He had won a grant from the Rockefeller Foundation to develop a new kind of law school; part of it involved training beginning legal scholars to see law as a social institution. Willard, himself, had written one of the first studies of what lawyers had done to foster the economic development of the United States.

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