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From legal biography to legal life writing: broadening conceptions of legal history and socio-legal scholarship

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

Published
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>03/2015
<mark>Journal</mark>Journal of Law and Society
Issue number1
Volume42
Number of pages26
Pages (from-to)7-33
Publication statusPublished
Original languageEnglish
EventBook Launch and Seminar - London School of Economics, London, United Kingdom
Duration: 9/02/20151/01/2016

Seminar

SeminarBook Launch and Seminar
CountryUnited Kingdom
CityLondon
Period9/02/151/01/16

Abstract

This article describes and analyses how legal life writing has grown to embrace a wider range of subjects, sources, and methods – from eminent white male judges to women, minorities, displaced persons, and outsiders – and explains and justifies it as an intellectual project. It considers some of life writing's challenges, shortcomings, and dilemmas, suggesting ways forward. The aim is to advance an important, inter-disciplinary perspective in the making: namely, a more pluralistic, democratic conception of legal life writing, which offers new ways of advancing legal history and socio-legal scholarship, encouraging inter-disciplinary dialogue. It is argued that legal life writing demonstrates the value of historical thinking in comprehending law, politics, and culture; it can also supplement the study of law, helping legal historians and socio-legal scholars to develop new skills and embrace a wider range of participants and audiences, thereby enhancing their ability to engage with public issues and public history.