American Legal Realism and Empirical Social Science
John Henry Schlegel Principal Investigator
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The ideal of empirical social science entered the consciousness of American legal academics in the 1920's and early 1930's, yet there remains a pervasive emphasis in American legal studies on formalism, on the one hand, and practical problem-solving, on the other. Based on a systematic analysis of a range of archival data, Dr. Schlegel seeks to account for why the scientific ideal inspired by the American Legal Realism movement has largely failed to be incorporated into the professional identity of those engaged in legal scholarship. His study is fundamental to the field of law and social science, providing a history of the first ambitious set of attempts to synthesize law and social science and to institutionalize law-and-society studies both inside and outside law schools. His work will enrich the current debate and dialogue of social scientists and illuminate our understanding of the nature of legal knowledge.