The Micro-Sociology of Lawyers' Actions

Thomas Scheffer, Adversarial Case-Making: An Ethnography of English Crown Court Procedure (Brill, 2010). John Flood As an ethnographer I subscribe to Everett Hughes's view: I am suspicious of any method said to be the one and only. But among the methods I would recommend is the intensive, penetrating look with an imagination as lively and as sociological as it can be made. One of my basic assumptions is that if one quite clearly sees something happen once, it is almost certain to have happened again and again. The burden of proof is on those who claim a thing once seen is an exception; if they look hard, they may find it everywhere, although with some interesting differences in each case. It is ethnography that enables us to go inside the black box. It is surprising then that the world of law is often neglected in the ethnographic milieu. Anthropologists engaged with it while studying kinship and exchange systems, seeming to take Durkheim's idea that contract was at the base of the social division of labor. Yet one of the central features of the law is the court which is an alienating environment. Continue reading "The Micro-Sociology of Lawyers' Actions"

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