The term legal culture is a relatively new one, although it traces to terms like legal tradition or legal style, which have a much longer history in comparative law or in early political science. It presupposes and invites us to explore the existence of systematic variation in patterns in “law in the books,” in “law in action,” and, above all, in the relation between them. Nevertheless, even this apparently simple premise is far from uncontroversial. This entry focuses on the problem of definition, the relationship between legal cultures and legal transfers, and the strategies that one may use for studying this topic.

The Meaning of Legal Culture

Lawrence Friedman introduced the term legal culture into the sociology of law. He distinguished between “internal legal culture,” which ...

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