Christopher L. Tomlins, University of California, Irvine, Law School, has published Law ‘And’, Law ‘In’, Law ‘As’: The Definition, Rejection and Recuperation of the Socio-Legal Enterprise at 29 Law In Context 137 (2013).
The critical moment in socio-legal studies that flowered in the United States and elsewhere between the mid-1970s and the early 1990s coincided with the maturation of the Legal Studies Department at Melbourne’s La Trobe University. During its two-decade span (1972-1994) La Trobe Legal Studies developed multidisciplinary critical and theoretical perspectives on law – as substance, as professional practice, as field of academic inquiry – to an extent and depth unrivalled in Australia or, with just a few exceptions, internationally. This essay charts the particular trajectory followed by one of those perspectives, legal history, both at La Trobe and in the wider world. Simultaneously, it offers a short history of the Department itself: of its growth during the 1970s and 1980s; of its transformation into a law school during the 1990s; and of the struggles to maintain a place for the social in the legal that occurred during that transformation.Download the article from SSRN at the link.