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Law is not (best considered) an essentially contested concept

Ehrenberg, Kenneth (2011) Law is not (best considered) an essentially contested concept International Journal of Law in Context, 7 (2). pp. 209-232.

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I argue that law is not best considered an essentially contested concept. After first explaining the notion of essential contestability and disaggregating law into several related concepts, I show that the most basic and general concept of law does not fit within the criteria offered for essential contestation. I buttress this claim with the explanation that essential contestation is itself a framework for understanding complex concepts and therefore should only be applied when it would yield a greater understanding of uses of the concept to which it is applied. I then show that, even if law meets some basic criteria of essential contestation, applying the appellation does not helpfully illuminate the most general concept of law and therefore it should not be used, while allowing that it might be more useful for the related concept of the rule of law.

Item Type: Article
Divisions : Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences > School of Law
Authors :
Date : June 2011
DOI : 10.1017/S174455231100005X
Copyright Disclaimer : © Cambridge University Press 2011
Depositing User : Melanie Hughes
Date Deposited : 09 Aug 2017 15:23
Last Modified : 16 Jan 2019 18:55

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