"Freedom, Autonomy, and the Cultural Study of Law," Yale Journal of Law and the Humanities, Spring 2001.
In the spring of 1999, I published a little book with a big title: The Cultural Study of Law, Reconstructing Legal Scholarship. The ambition of the book was to clear a space within law schools for a study of law that was not directed at the issue of legal reform. I urged a theoretical approach free of the insistent question: "What should the law be?" The reasons for my plea were not new. The rule of law, I argued, is not just a set of rules to be applied to an otherwise independent social order. Rather, law is, in part, constitutive of the self-understanding of individuals and communities. In particular, Americans often identify themselves as citizens within a polity characterized by the rule of law. This is not the only way in which Americans imagine themselves, but it is a powerful way for many people.
Date of Authorship for this Version
Kahn, Paul W., "Freedom, Autonomy, and the Cultural Study of Law" (2001). Faculty Scholarship Series. Paper 327.