1932

Abstract

This article uses oral histories of surviving founders to explore the emergence of law and society as a scholarly movement and its transformation to a scholarly field. The oral histories we draw on come from a unique public archive of interviews with founders of law and society titled Conversations in Law and Society, which is maintained by the Center for the Study of Law & Society (CSLS) at the University of California, Berkeley. We supplement and triangulate the CSLS oral histories with published sources that recount the history of law and society research. Our discussion begins with a brief review of the oral history approach and how the CSLS archive was constructed. We draw on the social movements literature to trace the emergence of the law and society field as a scholarly movement, showing how the movement drew strength from the political opportunities of the 1960s and 1970s; the mobilizing structures through which scholars created space for research and training; and the framing processes that crystallized the meanings, identities, and sentiments of the movement. We then present the founders’ perspectives on the characteristics of law and society as it became a scholarly field.While never becoming institutionalized as a discipline in the academy, law and society nonetheless spawned other scholarly movements and continues to influence research and teaching in social science disciplines and in law schools.

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2020-10-13
2024-04-21
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