What Once Was Old Is New Again: Reviving An Early-Modern Form Of Interdisciplinarity For Socio-Legal Studies
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Socio-legal studies are an essentially interdisciplinary enterprise. However, there is currently only one form of interdisciplinarity that most socio-legal scholars (and criminologists) recognise and work with. This form is derived from the idea that 'society itself' - and by this most scholars mean ‘civil society’ - drives the law. However, another, rival understanding of society, which we term the authoritarian-liberal statist understanding that slipped from view in the late seventeenth century and remained obscure from then until now, may be used to generate another form of interdisciplinarity for socio-legal studies (and for criminology). However, this rival understanding of society does not simply allow us to reconfigure our notion of ‘society’; it radically changes the role society plays in relation to the law. Two crucial points emerge from this rival account: first, society can no longer be understood as separable from (even though interacting with) the law; and second, society can no longer be understood as driving the law.