Comparative Sociology of Law: Legal Fields, Legal Scholarships, and Social Sciences in Europe and the United States



This article attempts to gain a better understanding of the sociology(ies) of law in a comparative perspective through a structural and comparative explanation of the American and the French legal fields. It is argued that comparative sociology of law will not be able to explain the difference among countries, scholars, movements, and schools of thought in short, it will not be able to compare—as long as it avoids the analysis of some social and cultural presuppositions related to the context in which these differences take place. It focuses mainly on two of these presuppositions. First, legal fields, with their history, their internal structure, and their power relations, and second the type of relation between the legal field and the state. The empirical examination provided in this article explicitly seeks to offer insights for the reconstruction of Bourdieu's structural theory of the legal field.