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Fighting for Political Freedom

Comparative Studies of the Legal Complex and Political Liberalism

Editor(s): Terence C. Halliday, Lucien Karpik, Malcolm Feeley
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Published: 20-12-2007
Format: Hardback
Edition: 1st
Extent: 520
ISBN: 9781841137674
Imprint: Hart Publishing
Series: Oñati International Series in Law and Society
Dimensions: 234 x 156 mm
RRP: £85.00
Online price : £76.50
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Loren Epson

About Fighting for Political Freedom

Across the world political liberalism is being fought for, consolidated and defended. That is the case for nations that have never enjoyed a liberal political society, for nations that have advanced towards and then retreated from political liberalism, for nations that have recently shifted from authoritarian to liberal political systems, and for mature democracies facing terrorism and domestic conflict.

This book tests for the contemporary world the proposition that lawyers are active agents in the construction of liberal political regimes. It examines the efficacy of a framework that postulates that legal professions not only orient themselves to a market for their services but can frequently be seen in the forefront of actors seeking to institutionalise political liberalism. On the basis of some 16 case studies from across the world, the authors present a theoretical link between lawyers and political liberalism having wide-ranging application over radically diverse situations in Asia and the Middle East, North and South America, and Europe. They argue that it is not the politics of lawyers alone but the politics of a 'legal complex' of legally trained occupations, centred on lawyers and judges, that drives advances or retreats from political liberalism, that political liberalism itself is everywhere in play, in countries with established democracies and those without liberal politics and that it is now clear that the legal arena is a central field of struggle over the shape of political power. The case studies presented here provide powerful evidence that the nexus of bar and bench in transitions towards or away from political liberalism is a force which has universal application.

Table Of Contents

1. The Legal Complex and Struggles for Political Liberalism
Terence C Halliday, Lucien Karpik and Malcolm M Feeley

Part One: Asia

2. Law and the Liberal Transformation of the Northeast Asian Legal Complex in Korea and Taiwan
Tom Ginsburg

3. Birth of a Liberal Moment? Looking Through a One-Way Mirror at Lawyers' Defence of Criminal Defendants in China
Terence C Halliday and Sida Liu

4.'Dissolving the People': Capitalism, Law and Democracy in Hong Kong
Carol Jones

5. The State, Civil Society, and the Legal Complex in Modern Japan: Continuity and Change
Malcolm M Feeley and Setsuo Miyazawa

Part Two: Middle East

6. Mobilising the Law in an Authoritarian State: The Legal Complex in Contemporary Egypt
Tamir Moustafa

7. Reluctantly Sailing Towards Political Liberalism: The Political Role of the Judiciary in Turkey
Zühtü Arslan

8. The Ambivalent Language of Lawyers in Israel: Liberal Politics, Economic Liberalism, Silence and Dissent
Gad Barzilai

Part Three: The Americas

9. The Legal Complex and the Response to Police Violence in South America
Daniel M Brinks

10. When the 'Political Complex' takes the Lead: The Configuration of a Moderate State in Chile
Javier A Couso

11. Lawyers and Political Liberalism in Venezuela
Rogelio Perez Perdomo

12. Contesting Legality in the United States after September 11
Richard L Abel

Part Four: Europe

13. Politicising Law to Liberalise Politics: Anti-Francoist Judges and Prosecutors in Spain's Democratic Transition
Lisa Hilbink

14. Lawyers and Statist Liberalism in Italy
Carlo Guarnieri


15. Political Lawyers
Lucien Karpik


“[The] broad coverage is truly impressive and refreshing in itself. When are all these countries, traditions, cultures ever brought together not just in one volume, but in a comparative project? There are more reasons, why this book is remarkable. It reminds the reader of the political relevance of sociology of law and the sociology of profession by covering issues such as Guantánamo and the role of the courts, the war against terrorism and the abolition of rights, authoritarian regimes and the force of law, the legal market and the professions' societal responsibility.” –  Thomas Scheffer and Hyo-Eun Shin, The Law & Politics Book Review Vol. 18 No.9

“The hallmark of this remarkable volume is the conceptualization of the legal complex and its relationship to political lawyering.” –  Laura J. Hatcher, Vol 43, No 1

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