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  • Miola-Picciotto 2021 SLS

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On the Sociology of Law in Economic Relations

Research output: Contribution to Journal/MagazineJournal articlepeer-review

E-pub ahead of print
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>23/03/2021
<mark>Journal</mark>Social and Legal Studies
Number of pages23
Publication StatusE-pub ahead of print
Early online date23/03/21
<mark>Original language</mark>English


A focus on law’s role in economic activities was central to many of the classical sociologists, and it remains a key theme in the sociology of law, although no longer central. The view of capitalism as a market economy is reflected in formalist perspectives on economics, law and even sociology, and limits these understandings. Economic sociologists and institutional economists have examined the extensive institutionalisation of economic activity due to the shift to corporate capitalism since the last part of the 19th century, and have focused on law’s role in these processes. The neo-liberal phase of capitalism since the 1970s brought a renewed emphasis on property rights and market-based management, but accompanied by an enormous growth of new forms of regulation, often of a hybrid public-private character, leading to a new view of law as reflective or responsive, very different from traditional formalist perspectives. We argue that law’s role in the economy can be better understood by examining the social processes of lawyering, mediating between the realms of political and economic power, through practices of legal interpretation that both reflect and shape economic activity.