2014 marks 50 years of the Law and Society Association, the largest society for socio-legal scholarship. Attendance of the Association’s annual conference has grown from less than 100 scholars in the 1960s to more than 2000 in recent years, demonstrating the massive growth in this subject area. Cambridge Journals’ 2014 launch of the Asian Journal of Law and Society is further evidence of this expansion and also reflects Cambridge University Press’ on-going commitment to fostering research in this field. The 10th anniversary of Cambridge Journals’ International Journal of Law in Context gives us a further reason to celebrate law and society scholarship in 2014.

What is law and society scholarship?

Law and society is not a distinct field of law but an approach to legal studies which many scholars choose to take which moves away from focusing on legal doctrine and instead looks at law from the perspective of how it fits with and applies to society. This is an exciting way to consider law and anyone who attends the major meetings in the socio-legal calendar (Law and Society Association, Socio-Legal Studies Association) will see these meetings are innovative forums which bring together scholars from all continents, all fields of law and many different disciplines including sociology, criminology and others alongside law.

What is Cambridge publishing in this area?

Cambridge’s profile as a publisher of law and society scholarship began with its two longstanding book series, Law in Context and Cambridge Studies in Law and Society, which offer around 15 new monographs and textbooks each year.

Cambridge now publishes three journals devoted to law and society studies. Our latest venture the Asian Journal of Law and Society comes out of a rise in good socio-legal material being written with an Asian angle and lack of room for more material in the existing journals. We are proud to be working with KoGuan Law School, Shangahi Jiao Tong University and a truly global editorial team to launch this publication. The International Journal of Law in Context launched as a sister publication to our Law in Context book series and explores law in the context of other disciplines. Its 10th year is an exciting time which marks the first full year of a new editorial team which spans the Atlantic. In 2013 we were pleased to begin publishing the Canadian Journal of Law and Society/Revue Canadienne Droit et Société in conjunction with the Canadian Law and Society Association/Association canadienne droit et société; an exciting venture which brings a strong Canadian and bi-lingual tradition in socio-legal studies to a broader audience. In 2015 that journal will celebrate its 30th volume.

Beyond these three dedicated socio-legal journals Cambridge is increasingly publishing journals which deal with law and its interaction with other subject areas. We have published Law and History Review on behalf of the American Society for Legal History since 2010. Another big event for Cambridge in 2014 will be publication of the Journal of Law and Religion which after being published for 28 volumes by Hamline University will from 2014 be published by Cambridge and a team based at Emory University of the leading scholars in this field. The first Cambridge-Emory issue publishes this coming January including articles authored by the Dalai Lama and the former UK Chief Rabbi Jonathan Sacks.

The future of law and society scholarship

A panel at the upcoming 50th anniversary LSA examines the evolution of publishing in law and society and asks what the future might hold; at Cambridge, as we work hard on new and old projects in this area, the future for this area looks extremely bright.


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