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Interdisciplinary Comparative Law

Rubbing Shoulders with the Neighbours or Standing Alone in a Crowd

9781802209778 Edward Elgar Publishing
Jaakko Husa, Professor in Law and Globalisation, Faculty of Law, University of Helsinki, Finland
Publication Date: May 2022 ISBN: 978 1 80220 977 8 Extent: c 264 pp
Comparative law scholars have long recognised the importance of looking beyond legal texts and incorporating interdisciplinary methods into the study of law, yet in practice such use of non-legal methods has remained modest. Interdisciplinary Comparative Law illuminates why the doctrinal approach to legal research has retained its strong position, offering a critical analysis of the difficulties of interdisciplinarity.

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Comparative law scholars have long recognised the importance of looking beyond legal texts and incorporating interdisciplinary methods into the study of law, yet in practice such use of non-legal methods has remained modest. Interdisciplinary Comparative Law illuminates why the doctrinal approach to legal research has retained its strong position, offering a critical analysis of the difficulties of interdisciplinarity.

Incisive and ambitious in scope, the book highlights why the comparative study of law benefits from employing the methods of other disciplines. Chapters explore the various ways in which different fields can learn from each other, taking a deep dive into the respective studies of legal history, linguistics, literature, economics, social theory, and international law. The result is a vibrant cross-section of the contrasts and parallels between the practices of law and other areas of research, demonstrating which are the easiest for comparatists to grasp and implement, and which present obstacles for the application of non-legal methods.

This cutting-edge book is an essential read for advanced students and scholars of law and legal studies. Its diagnosis of interdisciplinarity as both a boon and bane in the study of law will be of especial interest to comparative law scholars.
Critical Acclaim
‘A profound meditation on how comparative law can and should overcome its “loneliness” by going beyond doctrinal study and embracing interdisciplinarity – engaging disciplines such as history, linguistics, literature, economics and social theory. The book also discusses how the comparativist studies international, transnational and global law. It maps out a paradigm shift in comparative law scholarship.’
– Albert H.Y. Chen, University of Hong Kong

‘Interdisciplinary Comparative Law provides a synoptic account of the ways in which comparative law scholars use – and misuse—the methods of other academic disciplines, economics, history, and literary theory, among others. Learned and thoughtful, with many illuminating examples and novel insights, it shows that resorting to interdisciplinarity is both unavoidable and problematic. This is a must-read for serious comparativists.’
– Richard Kay, University of Connecticut, US

‘Jaakko Husa’s book describes interdisciplinarity as a double-edged sword to the comparative study of law. This openness towards interdisciplinarity and awareness of its limitations are key features of this book. Thus, readers gain inspiring insights into a variety of other disciplines while also benefiting from Husa’s expertise as one of the most prolific comparative lawyers today.’
– Mathias Siems, European University Institute, Italy
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