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Networks and Connections in Legal History
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Book description

Network and Connections in Legal History examines networks of lawyers, legislators and litigators, and how they shaped legal development in Britain and the world. It explores how particular networks of lawyers - from Scotland to East Florida and India - shaped the culture of the forums in which they operated, and how personal connections could be crucial in pressuring the legislature to institute reform - as with twentieth century feminist campaigns. It explores the transmission of legal ideas; what happened to those ideas was not predetermined, but when new connections were made, they could assume a new life. In some cases, new thinkers made intellectual connections not previously conceived, in others it was the new purposes to which ideas and practices were applied which made them adapt. This book shows how networks and connections between people and places have shaped the way that legal ideas and practices are transmitted across time and space.


'This is a very worthwhile collection, exploring the many and various ways in which networks and connections have had a bearing on the development of law, legal practice and legal systems. The chapters give different and stimulating perspectives on the importance of connections between lawyers, ideas and bodies of law, showing the influence of these connections, both in fostering inclusion and expansion, and also in excluding those outside a network. With a geographic reach which takes in Europe, Africa, North America and India, and a broad temporal scope, there is much to engage anyone with an interest in legal history.’

Gwen Seabourne - Professor of Legal History, University of Bristol Law School

‘Legal systems and lawyerly cultures in the past rested on intersecting communication networks. Easy exchange of legal news, know-how and instruction could occur through the daily life of lawyers working in tight communities, and these legal circles could be widened by travel, migration, and above all, by shared reading of the burgeoning texts published for national and imperial consumption. Today we take network connectivity for granted, or even curse it as overwhelming and degrading our knowledge; the authors of this fine volume show how slower networks in the past helped found our modern legal world. In one polished contribution after another we are shown lawyers at their common work, from medieval and renaissance Britain through to the farthest reaches of modern empires. War, death, and taxes; financiers and imperialists; assertive women lawyers, querulous advocates, grave doctors of jurisprudence – all jostle on these pages, capped by a chapter on Shakespeare himself as a legally curious artist addressing a wide and knowing audience. A stimulating collection of original and imaginative researches.’

Joshua Getzler - Law Faculty, University of Oxford

‘Network analysis has long proved important in sociology and history, but is seldom used in legal history. This fascinating, wide-ranging and important book makes a persuasive case for the value of network analysis within and beyond legal history. It provides a number of models for thinking about how, why and to what effect different networks help to fashion the development of law. In addition to making a valuable contribution to legal history, the book should appeal to scholars across a wide range of disciplines.’

David Sugarman - Lancaster University Law School and Institute of Advanced Legal Studies, University of London

‘… this book considers how the careers of individuals or interpretive communities do not only transmit ideas to new places and people, but how, once transmitted, ideas flourish in these new networks to generate original ideas, and new legal life.’

Ashley Pearson Source: International Journal for the Semiotics of Law

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