The Law and Society Reader II

440 pages

4 figures, 6 tables

May, 2014

ISBN: 9780814770610



Also available in


Erik Larson is Associate Professor and Chair of Sociology and Co-Director of Legal Studies at Macalester College. 

All books by Erik Larson

Patrick Schmidt is Professor of Political Science and Co-Director of Legal Studies at Macalester College. He is the author of Lawyers and Regulation: The Politics of the Administrative Process, Conducting Law and Society Research: Reflections on Methods and Practices (with Simon Halliday), and the editor of Human Rights Brought Home: Socio-Legal Studies of Human Rights in the National Context (with Simon Halliday). 

All books by Patrick Schmidt

Law and society scholars challenge the common belief that law is simply a neutral tool by which society sets standards and resolves disputes. Decades of research shows how much the nature of communities, organizations, and the people inhabiting them affect how law works. Just as much, law shapes beliefs, behaviors, and wider social structures, but the connections are much more nuanced—and surprising—than many expect.

Law and Society Reader II provides readers an accessible overview to the breadth of recent developments in this research tradition, bringing to life the developments in this dynamic field. Following up a first Law and Society Reader published in 1995, editors Erik W. Larson and Patrick D. Schmidt have compiled excerpts of 43 illuminating articles published since 1993 in The Law & Society Review, the flagship journal of the Law and Society Association.

By its organization and approach, this volume enables readers to join in discussing the key ideas of law and society research. The selections highlight the core insights and developments in this research tradition, making these works indispensable for those exploring the field and ideal for classroom use. Across six concisely-introduced sections, this volume analyzes inequality, lawyering, the relation between law and organizations, and the place of law in relation to other social institutions.


  • "The Law & Society Reader II offers academics, students, and the general public a diverse, comprehensive window on some of the most innovative interdisciplinary scholarship on law produced in recent decades. It highlights how the field has become globalized and increasingly aware of the ways in which consciousness infuses legality. The Reader provides an accessible introduction to those new to the field and an indispensable overview for others already familiar with particular facets."

    —Richard Abel, editor of The Law & Society Reader, 1995

  • "The  Law & Society Reader II is a cornucopia of knowledge and insight on the biggest questions in the sociolegal tradition. Co-editors Larson and Schmidt have done a fabulous job selecting, organizing, editing, and introducing many of best articles over the last two decades into an invaluable resource for researchers and teachers. Every serious sociolegal scholar needs to have this volume."

    —Michael McCann, Gordon Hirabayashi Professor for the Advancement of Citizenship, University of Washington

  • "In this volume Larson and Schmidt have creatively captured the spirit and diversity of law and society research published over the last 20+ years."

    —Herbert M. Kritzer, editor, Law & Society Review, 2003-07

  • “An important antidote to the still dominant approach in law schools that teaches legal doctrine via isolated appellate opinions. This book puts law, lawyers, and legal institutions in their social and cultural context. Larson and Schmidt provide an engaging follow-up volume to Rick Abel’s groundbreaking 1995 reader, effectively excerpting recent articles from the leading socio-legal studies journal, the Law & Society Review.”

    —Laura E. Gomez, University of California, Los Angeles

  • "Offering a stunning collection of disciplinarily diverse, cutting-edge research . . . this collection describes the way law works as a system of ideas, as a source of social identity, and as a force of social organization, inequality, as well as equality and social change. . . . The anthology will be very useful for students seeking access to this flourishing field of scholarship at both the graduate and undergraduate level, and others who simply want an overview of how law works."

    —Susan S. Silbey, Leon and Anne Goldberg Professor of Humanities, Sociology and Anthropology, MIT