Published online by Cambridge University Press: 12 July 2019
Through the mid-twentieth century, jurisprudents considered sociological jurisprudence to be one of the most influential theories of law in the United States. By end of the century, however, it had virtually disappeared. The publication of Roger Cotterrell’s Sociological Jurisprudence: Juristic Thought and Social Inquiry (2018) provides an occasion to examine what this theory of law was about, why it disappeared, and its prospects for revival. The topics covered in this essay are the circumstances surrounding the origin of sociological jurisprudence, the tenets of sociological jurisprudence, the successes of sociological jurisprudence, its relationship with sociology of law, its relationship with legal realism, its place in contemporary jurisprudence, and finally, the need to keep jurisprudence open.