Concepts of Law: Comparative, Jurisprudential, and Social Science Perspectives, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Concepts of Law

Comparative, Jurisprudential, and Social Science Perspectives, 1st Edition

By Lukas Heckendorn Urscheler

Edited by Seán Patrick Donlan


270 pages

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Debates surrounding the concept of law are not new. For a wide variety of reasons and in a wide variety of ways, the meaning of 'law' has long been an important part of Western thought, both within legal scholarship and beyond. The contributors to Concepts of Law are international experts from the fields of comparative law, legal philosophy, and the social sciences. Combining theoretical analyses with case studies, they explore various legal concepts and contexts from diverse national and disciplinary perspectives. Legal and normative pluralism is a theme throughout. Some chapters discuss the development of state law and legal systems. Others wrestle with law’s rhetoric and the potential utility of alternative vocabularies, e.g., 'governance' and ’governmentality’. Others reveal the rich polyjurality of the present, from the local to the global. The result is a rich picture of both present scholarship on laws and norms and the state of contemporary legal complexity, each crossing traditional boundaries.


'This book contains a wonderful collection of essays on the meaning of law in a pluralist society. It is the first volume to bring together stimulating views of celebrated comparatists, legal theorists and social scientists on contemporary legal complexity. Indispensable reading for anyone interested in the state of contemporary law.' Jan Smits, Maastricht University, The Netherlands ’This work displays a remarkably diverse range of opinion in current legal thought and critical scholarship about the nature of law. Although debate on the subject is certainly not new, this book carries it much further into the richly complex world of normative pluralism.’ Tom Bennett, University of Cape Town, South Africa 'This edited collection confronts us with the choice between having to tame a tiger and thinking the tiger to be a cat, just a different one. When writing about "concepts of law", then one apparently must pay tribute and homage, but one must also be daring and fierce. The authors in this book do both, and do it very differently, from one to the other, and thus offer a refreshing look at some of the (really) old problems of law and some of the old, newer and emerging views that exist with regard to the definition, concept and nature of law and to its role and function in a society which itself doesn't stand still. Reading is highly recommended.' Peer Zumbansen, King's College London, UK ’This book is a significant contribution to comparative legal scholarship. It is a collection of sophisticated essays on the nature of law and legal pluralism from philosophical, sociological, historical and comparativist perspectives.’ Vivian Grosswald Curran, University of Pittsburgh, USA

About the Author/Editor

Seán Patrick Donlan lectures at the University of Limerick (Ireland). He is President of Juris Diversitas, the Editor of Comparative Legal History, and Secretary General of the World Society of Mixed Jurisdiction Jurists. His research focuses on comparative law, legal history, legal philosophy, and the social sciences. Dr Lukas Heckendorn Urscheler is Vice-Director at the Swiss Institute of Comparative Law (Lausanne). He is also on the Executive Committee of Juris Diversitas and of the Swiss Society of International Law (Société Suisse de Droit International). His research focuses on comparative law, Asian law, and the law of torts.

About the Series

Juris Diversitas

Juris Diversitas
Rooted in comparative law, the Juris Diversitas series focuses on the interdisciplinary study of legal and normative mixtures and movements. The interest is in comparison broadly conceived, extending beyond law narrowly understood to related fields. Titles might be geographical or temporal comparisons and could focus on theory and methodology, substantive law or legal cultures, or could investigate official or unofficial 'legalities', past and present and around the world. And, to effectively cross spatial, temporal, and normative boundaries, inter- and multi-disciplinary research is particularly welcome.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
LAW / Comparative
LAW / Public