Introduction: Tort Law as Cultural Practice

Title

Introduction: Tort Law as Cultural Practice

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Description

Published as the introduction to Fault Lines: Tort Law as Cultural Practice, David M. Engel & Michael McCann, eds.

Most scholars would agree that tort law is a cultural phenomenon and that its norms, institutions, and procedures both reflect and shape the broader culture of which it is a part. Yet relatively few studies have attempted to analyze tort law as a form of cultural practice or to address basic challenges regarding the methods or subject matter that are appropriate to such analyses. This essay introduces and summarizes a new volume of interdisciplinary, comparative, and historical studies of tort law in the United States as well as in the United Kingdom, Japan, Italy, India, Thailand, and elsewhere (the volume is entitled Fault Lines: Tort Law as Cultural Practice, Stanford University Press, 2009). The introductory essay contends that culture is not some 'thing' outside of tort law that may or may not influence legal behavior and deposit artifacts in the case law reporters. Rather, tort law and culture are inseparable dimensions of social practice in which risk, injury, liability, compensation, deterrence, and normative pronouncements about acceptable behavior are crucial features. Contributors to this volume demonstrate a variety of ways in which tort law’s cultural dimensions can be explored as they write about such topics as causation and duty, gender and race, the jury and the media, products liability and medical malpractice, insurance and the police, and tobacco and asbestos litigation. Their analyses extend far beyond the confines of the tort reform debate, which has until now set the agenda for much of the sociolegal research on tort law.

Publication Date

2009

Publisher

Stanford University Press

ISBN

9780804756136

First Page

1

Last Page

20

Keywords

torts, culture, comparative law, gender, race, jury, tobacco, Japan, India, Thailand, UK

Disciplines

Comparative and Foreign Law | Law | Law and Society

Introduction: Tort Law as Cultural Practice

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