Global Legal History: A Methodological Approac

Thomas Duve (2017)

In: Oxford Handbooks Online.

“Because of transformations in the world’s legal systems, there is a need for reflection about law and legal scholarship globally. There is a growing demand for global legal history; however, there is neither a consensus as to what this history is, nor what objectives this legal historiography pursues, or even how it relates to other disciplines. In addition, global legal history reflects the traditional multiplicity of methods, aims, and forms present in current juridical historiographies. This is why it is difficult to speak about a method of global legal history. This contribution—written from a Western, perspective—can only sketch out a general panorama and some particular methodological problems. It begins by considering meanings of “global legal history,” then sketches out some methodological approaches. The final remarks emphasize that not only the intellectual but also the institutional presuppositions for a global production of legal historical knowledge need to be established.”

“Interestingly, some of these phenomena have been addressed by the more recent French “sociology of conventions” (Diaz-Bone/Thévenot 2010; Diaz-Bone/Didry/Salais 2015). Here, conventions are understood in terms of interpretative frames that coordinate operative situations. These conventions develop out of concrete situations and can be stabilized network structures. They are related to specific forms of cognition and are applied with a normative intention. The conceptual reflections of this sociology of conventions seem quite helpful when reconstructing the complex process of producing normativity, especially in the context of “glocalizations.” They might provide legal history with tools for analyzing complex and diverse societies with a plurality of bodies, which produce law and do so drawing upon diverse cultural practices.”

Download link: Duve (2017)