Editors' Comments

Date01 June 2017
Published date01 June 2017
Editors’ Comments
Good scholarship can nurture understanding and humane
ways of engaging with one another. We offer the articles in this
issue in the spirit of civil discussion of how we know what we
know, and what we see when we look. At our best, scholars share
a commitment to learning and a curiosity about how people live
with the law. The structure of research and its representation
now looks like a cool haven of civility when in public life we are
experiencing more heat with little light. However, the universities
in which so many of us work are not immune from this climate.
As we write, hate groups have been leafletting universities; hate-
ful, denigrating comments on academic social media are routine.
Civility may not be considered the most passionate of virtues, but
the practice of inclusion and respect in what we study and discuss
builds bridges we sorely need. If we share a common commit-
ment to admitting “I don’t know,” and to listening to one another
across our differences, we have a place to start.
The global spread of legal ideas and practices could not be
more visible in this issue.
No one would mistake law for the expression of the will of a
homogeneous community, once an ideal of what law could be. In
this issue, theorizing and the sites for empirical analysis are at
once local and international. Scholars write from universities
across the United States and Europe. Theorizing about what law
does and what it means builds connections across time, fields of
law, communities, and countries. As editors of the Law & Society
Review, we aim to increase the range of perspectives the journal
includes. This is a work in progress.
Fundamental research illuminates both local and global jus-
tice and injustice, all matters of concern for governing at any
level. None of the work published in this issue claims to speak
directly to what governing structures should do about problems.
Yet, understanding what law does, even in very particular set-
tings—say, what testifying means to people, how police officers
interact with citizens, why people participate in illegal markets
that leave them injured and still poor, why we punish the way we
do—counters a practice of imputing reasons to people, which
Law & Society Review, Volume 51, Number 2 (2017)
C2017 Law and Society Association. All rights reserved.

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