Cover of How Law Knows by Edited by Austin Sarat, Lawrence Douglas, and Martha Merrill Umphrey
How Law Knows
Edited by Austin Sarat, Lawrence Douglas, and Martha Merrill Umphrey

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2006
224 pages.
$57.50

Cloth ISBN: 9780804755252

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When citizens think about law's ways of knowing and about how legal officials gather information, assess factual claims, and judge people and situations, they are often confused by the seemingly arcane and constrained quality of the information-gathering, fact-evaluating procedures that legal officials employ or impose. Yet law's ways of knowing as varied as are the institutions and officials who populate any legal system.

From the rules of evidence to the technologies of risk management, from the practices of racial profiling to the development of trade knowledge, from the generation of independent knowledge practices to law's dependence on outside expertise, even a brief survey shows that law knows in many different ways, that its knowledge practices are contingent and responsive to context, and that they change over time.

About the author

Austin Sarat is William Nelson Cromwell Professor of Jurisprudence and Political Science and Five College Fortieth Anniversary Professor at Amherst College. Lawrence Douglas is Professor of Law, Jurisprudence & Social Thought at Amherst College. Martha Merrill Umphrey is Associate Professor of Law, Jurisprudence & Social Thought at Amherst College.

"This work raises new questions while also reexamining standard socio-legal issues in refreshing ways. The result is a rich and innovative look at the routines of truth seeking and fact finding."

—Patricia Ewick, Clark University

"How Law Knows is a useful and interesting collection addressing law's ways of knowing. The authors reveal that the establishment and organized use of legal facts is varied, historical, and amenable to a rich and diverse set of methods of inquiry."

—Jon Goldberg-Hiller, University of Hawaii, Manoa