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One may persuasively argue that Italian sociology of law is “deeply rooted” (Ferrari and Ronfani 2001). These roots actually date back to the early times of sociology itself because it was specifically in Italy that a sociological approach to law, basically positivistic, was adopted by many lawyers, jurists, anthropologists, and especially criminologists in the second half of the nineteenth century. Notable examples include Cesare Lombroso (1836–1909) and Enrico Ferri (1856–1929).

A double challenge, from the trenches of philosophical neo-idealism and fascism, respectively, brought these promising beginnings to a sudden halt in the first decades of the twentieth century. Yet the roots must indeed have been deep, as Italy proved to offer a fertile terrain to law and society once the country had regained its democratic ...

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