The concept of culture is troublingly vague and, at the same time, hotly contested, and law's relations to culture are as complex, varied and disputed as the concept of culture itself. The concept of the traditional, unified, reified, civilizing idea of culture has come under attack. The growth of cultural studies has played an important role in redefining culture by including popular culture and questions of social stratification, power and social conflict.
Law and legal studies are relative latecomers to cultural studies. As scholars have come to see law as not something apart from culture and society, they have begun to explore the connections between law and culture. Focusing on the production, interpretation, consumption and circulation of legal meaning, these scholars suggest that law is inseparable from the interests, goals and understandings that deeply shape or compromise social life. Against this background, Law in the Domains of Culture brings the insights and approaches of cultural studies to law and tries to secure for law a place in cultural analysis. This book provides a sampling of significant theoretical issues in the cultural analysis of law and illustrates some of those issues in provocative examples of the genre. Law in the Domains of Culture is designed to encourage the still tentative efforts to forge a new interdisciplinary synthesis, cultural studies of law.
The contributors are Carol Clover, Rosemary Coombe, Marjorie Garber, Thomas R. Kearns, William Miller, Andrew Ross, Austin Sarat, and Martha Woodmansee.
Austin Sarat is William Nelson Cromwell Professor of Jurisprudence and Political Science, Amherst College. Thomas R. Kearns is William H. Hastie Professor of Philosophy, Amherst College.