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Framing Law-In-Action

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Chapter Summary

This chapter is a plea for a novel kind of framing: one that allows us to observe law-in-action across various mediations; one that allows us to grasp the complexities of cases in becoming; one that reflects on its limitations and that accounts for its partiality. This multifaceted framing results in a transsequential method: a method that follows case-making over a longer period of time and that participates in a series of more or less contingent events. Originally, the law-in-action approach developed in opposition to the law-of-the-books orientation towards doctrines (Pound 1910). "Where is the field?" is a question hardly ever asked by ethnographers who 'just' approach institutions, cultures or regions. Ethnography can profit from sociological concepts that seem rather devious at first sight. The 'event and process'-pair is commonly employed in historical sociology.

Keywords: ethnography; historical sociology; law-in-action



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