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Article
A New Agenda for the Cultural Study of Law: Taking on the Technicalities
Cornell Law Faculty Publications
  • Annelise Riles, Cornell Law School
Document Type
Article
Publication Date
7-1-2005
Keywords
  • Legal doctrine,
  • Legal thought,
  • Technical legal devices,
  • Legal instrumentalism,
  • Private international law
Abstract

This article urges humanistic legal studies to take the technical dimensions of law as a central focus of inquiry. Using archival and ethnographic investigations into developments in American Conflict of Laws doctrines as an example, and building on insights in the anthropology of knowledge and in science and technology studies that focus on technical practices in scientific and engineering domains, it aims to show that the technologies of law - an ideology that law is a tool and an accompanying technical aesthetic of legal knowledge - are far more central and far more interesting dimensions of legal practice than humanists have often conceded. The article's concrete focus is the nature of relations of means and ends in the Realist Revolution, as exemplified by the field of Conflicts, and the quiet but fundamental transformation of the character of those relations in mid and late-twentieth century legal knowledge.

Publication Citation
Published in: Buffalo Law Review, vol. 53, no. 3 (Summer 2005).
Citation Information
Annelise Riles. "A New Agenda for the Cultural Study of Law: Taking on the Technicalities" (2005)
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/annelise_riles/19/