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2 - Traditional Methods

from Part I - Methods of Comparative Law

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  26 January 2024

Mathias Siems
Affiliation:
European University Institute, Florence
Po Jen Yap
Affiliation:
The University of Hong Kong
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Summary

Comparative law has grown out of its traditional theoretical and methodological boundaries. However, much of comparative law scholarship may still be described as traditional. This chapter discusses the traditional view of comparative law research. What can be characterised as traditional comparative law has concentrated on the private law of major Western legal systems, leaving other areas of law and non-Western systems mostly aside. In substance, while it is not entirely clear what can be labelled as traditional methods, we can separate three essential issues. The first issue concerns the research process and how traditional comparative law scholars have outlined it. Traditional comparative law scholarship typically provides guidance on how research should be conducted. The second issue deals with the specific method of functionalism that has been recommended to be used in the comparative research. At the heart of the functionalist methodology lies the assumption according to which there are legal rules or institutions that serve a certain social function. The third issue concerns the underlying assumption behind functionalism, that is universalism. Universalism maintains that every society faces essentially the same problems, and that societies solve these problems by different means, though often with similar results. The chapter ends with a critical analysis and thoughts about the future of traditional methods.

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Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2024

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  • Traditional Methods
  • Edited by Mathias Siems, European University Institute, Florence, Po Jen Yap, The University of Hong Kong
  • Book: The Cambridge Handbook of Comparative Law
  • Online publication: 26 January 2024
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108914741.004
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  • Traditional Methods
  • Edited by Mathias Siems, European University Institute, Florence, Po Jen Yap, The University of Hong Kong
  • Book: The Cambridge Handbook of Comparative Law
  • Online publication: 26 January 2024
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108914741.004
Available formats
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To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.

  • Traditional Methods
  • Edited by Mathias Siems, European University Institute, Florence, Po Jen Yap, The University of Hong Kong
  • Book: The Cambridge Handbook of Comparative Law
  • Online publication: 26 January 2024
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108914741.004
Available formats
×