1932

Abstract

Susan Silbey began her academic training in political science and in the course of her studies became a sociologist of law, the last two decades as a member of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's anthropology department and management school. The disciplinary transformations ground, in part, her attention to the ways in which the everyday life of scholarship has led her to study the everyday life of the law. In this article, she describes her scholarly life through seven chapters of relatively distinct challenges and themes. Across the arc of her life, she identifies the recurrent influence of both serendipity and theoretical inference acting within the immediate constraints of family and personal capacity. Reading across descriptions of her work on regulatory enforcement, dispute negotiation and mediation, and popular legal culture and consciousness, she points to the necessity of reconciling on-the-ground vicissitudes of doing legal work with the theories and narratives social scientists construct to make sense of institutions and history. She muses on theoretical attempts to align the particular and the general, the micro and macro forces working in legal cultures, and concludes by celebrating the ubiquity of social ordering whose own momentum both seduces and frustrates social scientists.

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2019-10-13
2024-06-21
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