An Institutional Approach towards the History and Present State of Rechtssoziologie (Sociology of Law) in Germany

by Michael Wrase

The joint conference “Die Versprechungen des Rechts” (“The Promises of Law”) of the socio-legal studies associations of Germany, Switzerland and Austria taking place 9th-11th September 2015 at Humboldt University Berlin attracted more than 200 submissions of panels and paper proposals. Having experienced a constant decline in institutionalisation over the last three decades, and despite the difficulties still faced by the field of socio-legal studies in Germany, there now seems to be at least a phase of ‘consolidation’. The Berlin conference will be the third in a row of gatherings following Lucerne 2008 and Vienna 2011. This new and in the history of German socio-legal studies unprecedented series of conferences was sparked by the International Conference of the LSA at Humboldt University in 2007, which bore the promising title “Law and Society in the 21st Century”.

The following remarks are a slightly revised version of a paper I presented at that 2007 LSA conference on a panel conceptualized by Helen Hartnell, to whom I owe a debt of gratitude. The panel compared the developments of socio-legal studies in different countries, in particular Japan, UK, USA and Germany. Although considerable time has passed since, I believe that especially the analyses of the developments outlined in my paper keep their validity and timeliness until now. Therefore, I deem it worthwhile posting my paper on the BAR blog. Some adaptations and amendments to the original version have been made especially in the last part (IV.), otherwise only where statements had become outdated or proven obsolete. As this is an ongoing endeavour, I highly appreciate any comments and remarks. Weiterlesen