Fighting for Political Freedom

Fighting for Political Freedom : Comparative Studies of the Legal Complex and Political Liberalism

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Across the world political liberalism is being fought for, consolidated and defended. That is the case for nations that have never enjoyed a liberal political society, for nations that have advanced towards and then retreated from political liberalism, for nations that have recently shifted from authoritarian to liberal political systems, and for mature democracies facing terrorism and domestic conflict. This book tests for the contemporary world the proposition that lawyers are active agents in the construction of liberal political regimes. It examines the efficacy of a framework that postulates that legal professions not only orient themselves to a market for their services but can frequently be seen in the forefront of actors seeking to institutionalise political liberalism. On the basis of some 16 case studies from across the world, the authors present a theoretical link between lawyers and political liberalism having wide-ranging application over radically diverse situations in Asia and the Middle East, North and South America, and Europe.
They argue that it is not the politics of lawyers alone but the politics of a 'legal complex' of legally trained occupations, centred on lawyers and judges, that drives advances or retreats from political liberalism, that political liberalism itself is everywhere in play, in countries with established democracies and those without liberal politics and that it is now clear that the legal arena is a central field of struggle over the shape of political power. The case studies presented here provide powerful evidence that the nexus of bar and bench in transitions towards or away from political liberalism is a force which has universal application.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 520 pages
  • 156 x 234 x 26mm | 800g
  • Hart Publishing
  • Oxford, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 1841137685
  • 9781841137681
  • 2,148,139

Review quote

[The] broad coverage is truly impressive and refreshing in itself. When are all these countries, traditions, cultures ever brought together not just in one volume, but in a comparative project? There are more reasons, why this book is remarkable. It reminds the reader of the political relevance of sociology of law and the sociology of profession by covering issues such as Guantanamo and the role of the courts, the war against terrorism and the abolition of rights, authoritarian regimes and the force of law, the legal market and the professions' societal responsibility. Thomas Scheffer and Hyo-Eun Shin The Law & Politics Book Review Vol. 18 No.9 (September 2008) The hallmark of this remarkable volume is the conceptualization of the legal complex and its relationship to political lawyering. Laura J. Hatcher Law and Society Review Vol 43, No 1
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About Terence C. Halliday

Terence C Halliday is a Senior Research Fellow at the American Bar Foundation in Chicago. Lucien Karpik is at the Ecole des Mines, Centre Raymond Aron (EHESS), Paris. Malcolm M. Feeley is Claire Sanders Clements Dean's Chair Professor of Law at the University of California, Berkeley.
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