Cover of Fault Lines by Edited by David M. Engel and Michael McCann
Fault Lines
Tort Law as Cultural Practice
Edited by David M. Engel and Michael McCann


408 pages.
from $32.00

Hardcover ISBN: 9780804756136
Paperback ISBN: 9780804756143
Ebook ISBN: 9780804771207

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Tort law, a fundamental building block of every legal system, features prominently in mass culture and political debates. As this pioneering anthology reveals, tort law is not simply a collection of legal rules and procedures, but a set of cultural responses to the broader problems of risk, injury, assignment of responsibility, compensation, valuation, and obligation.

Examining tort law as a cultural phenomenon and a form of cultural practice, this work makes explicit comparisons of tort law across space and time, looking at the United States, Europe, and Asia in the nineteenth, twentieth, and twenty-first centuries. It draws on theories and methods from law, sociology, political science, and anthropology to offer a truly interdisciplinary, pathbreaking view. Ultimately, tort law, the authors show, nests within a larger web of relationships and shared discursive conventions that organize social life.

About the authors

David M. Engel is SUNY Distinguished Service Professor of Law at the University at Buffalo Law School. Michael McCann is Gordon Hirabayashi Professor for the Advancement of Citizenship and Director of the Law, Societies, and Justice program and the Comparative Law and Society Studies Center at the University of Washington.

"Both editors Engel and McCann are eminently qualified to prepare this reader on current themes in tort law practice from a comparative perspective .... The highly professional text is throughly indexed and contains an excellent bibliography."

—R. A. Carp, Choice

"The editors, who have contributed mightily to our scholarly understanding of torts and disputing over the past 25 years, have succeeded admirably in assembling highly accessible essays.... the essays are highly accessible, and the text will be a welcome addition to legal studies courses...."

Law and Politics Book Review

"Fault Lines presents an original look at how popular culture informs legal practice, and how this influence determines the way a society thinks about and deals with wrongdoing and personal injury."

—Timothy Lytton, Albany Law School

"Unified in its attention to tort law in action, this breakthrough volume incorporates years of independent, original research from leading scholars. With clear, comparative examples, it reveals how changes in tort law practices relate to larger social changes."

—Richard Abel, UCLA School of Law