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Stanford Law School




The announced purpose of Alan Hunt and Gary Wickham 's book Foucault and Law, is "to demonstrate the pertinence of [Michel] Foucault for contemporary issues in legal studies. " In this review essay, I acknowledge the important contributions Hunt and Wickham have made, both in introducing basic Foucaultian concepts to a legal academic audience, and in identifying the defects in Foucault's explicit discussions of law. Yet, I contend, the authors turn too quickly from Foucault's work toward their own new research project, the "sociology of law as governance." Rather than constructing a new subdiscipline of the sociology of law, I argue, the authors might have considered more directly how Foucault's work could illuminate issues in contemporary legal studies. Through a critical examination of some exemplary appropriations of Foucault, I suggest the possibilities and limits of Foucault's usefulness for legal scholarship.

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