Walls, Borders, and Bridges: Law and Society in an Inter-Connected World
Our International meeting in 2017, jointly sponsored by the Law and Society Association, the Research Committee on the Sociology of Law, and with the participation of the Socio-Legal Studies Association, the Japanese Association of the Sociology of Law, and the Canadian Law and Society Association, and other groups, will take place in a great metropolis, Mexico City. This is our first meeting ever in Latin America, home of a rapidly growing, and impressive, law and society community. Mexico City itself has had a turbulent history. It was the capital of an empire, then of a colony, and then of an independent republic. Its legal system has changed dramatically with each turn of the wheel. It has a unique and rich tradition; a vibrant culture; but it also has faced issues of race, gender, and class; issues of human rights; issues of economic growth that are far more universal.
Walls and bridges: exclusion and inclusion. Everybody recognizes these two contradictory themes; they have a big role today in national politics, and national law; in international politics, and international law. A famous old statement had it that all politics is local; but today, all politics is, in some sense, global. If country A wants to close its borders, and close back in on itself, it is because it is reacting to turmoil outside its boundaries. Today, no wall can ever be high enough to shut out the forces that are shaping life in the 21st century, for better or for worse.
We think our field can help us understand that world, what makes it tick, where it has been, and where it is going. Our theme focuses on walls, borders, and bridges. But of course, we welcome all studies of law and society; empirical studies, no matter how small, no matter how local, can be tiles that fit into a larger mosaic; and many of these studies will be relevant to our theme, even when this relevance is a bit hard to see.