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Abstract from

Business Law: The Sometime Subject of Socio-legal Studies

Christopher Arup is Professor of Business Law in the Faculty of Business and Economics at Monash University. He taught at La Trobe University between 1979 and 1991. He has endeavoured to deploy socio- legal studies to research labour law, trade law, intellectual property, legal services and civil procedure. He is a co-editor of the CUP series, Studies in Law and Society.

This article charts the shifting relationship between business law and socio-legal studies. It highlights the uses La Trobe has made of socio-legal studies to teach and research business law and the value it has added. Law and economy had figured prominently in the early social theory and history of law, when the construction of capitalism was still a contested issue. By the time business law formed part of the university’s core curriculum, socio-legal studies had largely vacated the field to lawyers and economists. Eventually, socio-legal studies realised that business law was a mover in the internationalisation of the economy. It called on regulatory and governance studies to make up the ground. Today, when capitalism is linked with finance and climate crises, the article suggests that socio-legal studies must think radically again.

(2013) 29(2) Law in Context 10

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