Interdisciplinary approaches to legal research: law and economics and critical legal studies from a North American perspective


Over the past few decades, academic legal research has become more and more interdisciplinary. Abandoned the old, traditional notion of law as a self-contained discipline, legal academics have identified in economics, social sciences, and politics, among other things, some of the subjects “outside” of the law that are most commonly intertwined with legal issues. They have also started to use methodologies and schemes distinctive of these fields to analyze legal matters.  In particular, two different, interdisciplinary legal approaches have become rather popular in academia: law and economics (hereinafter also referred to as “L&E”) and critical legal studies (or “CLS”). This paper intends to offer a broad overview of these two approaches as they have evolved in North America, touching upon their intellectual history, the methodologies used, some of the major critiques moved to each approach, as well as similarities and differences between them.

Erika Arban

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