Legal Realism Regained: Saving Realism from Critical Acclaim (Jurists: Profiles in Legal Theory)

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ISBN-13: 978-0804756594
ISBN-10: 0804756597
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Editorial Reviews


"Legal Realism Revisited is an ambitious book, which revisits the relationship between legal realism and critical legal studies in an interesting and provocative way. The discussion in the book is learned, thorough, and quite sophisticated." —Hanoch Dagan, Tel-Aviv University

"Discussions of American Legal Realism as a movement in legal thought are numerous, but seldom enlightening. Wouter de Been's Legal Realism Revisited is a notable exception. His patient reconstruction of the topic is a model of the intellectual historian's craft. In particular, his discussion of the role of functionalism in realist writing clarifies many issues that earlier authors have left murky." — John H. Schlegel, University at Buffalo Law School

"Wouter de Been provides a thorough and sophisticated look at oft-neglected elements of legal realism and critical legal studies, details differences between the two movements, and offers a compelling argument for the continuing vitality of certain components of legal realism. The author displays an impressive mastery not only of the movements themselves, but also of underlying concepts drawn from history, sociology, law and philosophy." —Adam Shajnfeld, Columbia

About the Author

Wouter de Been works as a researcher for the Wiardi Beckman Foundation in Amsterdam, a research institution affiliated with the Dutch Labour Party.

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Product Details

  • Series: Jurists: Profiles in Legal Theory
  • Hardcover: 264 pages
  • Publisher: Stanford Law Books (February 13, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0804756597
  • ISBN-13: 978-0804756594
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.8 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,127,439 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Ronald H. Clark VINE VOICE on January 9, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book is one of the excellent "Jurists: Profiles in Legal Theory" volumes from Stanford University Press. It more than lives up to the high standard set by that series. The author, a Dutch academic and researcher, wants to demonstrate that Critical Legal Studies (of the 1960's through the 1980's) not only does not stand on the shoulders of the Realists of the 1930's, but in many ways is less effective as an analytical tool than the work of Llewellyn, Frank, William O. Douglas, Felix Cohen, and the other giants of the Realist movement. After an introductory chapter briefly sketching both approaches, the author focuses upon three central topics as handled by each approach: historicism, social science, and language (legal concepts). First a chapter discusses the Realists' approaches; then a succeeding chapter reviews the Crits' assessment of the same concepts and their criticisms of the legal realists. While the author clearly favors the Realists (whom he associates heavily with Pragmatism), this fact in no way diminishes the throughness and fairness with which he discusses each movement.

The chapters on the use of history are extremely interesting as to both approaches. The role of Holmes is well developed, as is the "scientific naturalism" discussed by Purcell in his excellent "The Crisis of Democratic Theory." After reading these two chapters, it is easy for the reader to see exactly where each approach differs from the other and to assess the CLS criticisms of the Realist approach. The two chapters on Social Science are equally comprehensive, but not as easy to grasp as to the intricacies of each approach. The CLS criticisms do come through loud and clear.
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Legal Realism Regained: Saving Realism from Critical Acclaim (Jurists: Profiles in Legal Theory)
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