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The contribution of Austrian lawyers and scholars in establishing a specific tradition of social reasoning within jurisprudence is unquestionable. It includes, in particular, famous names such as Ludwig Gumplowicz (1838–1909), Eugen Ehrlich (1862–1922), and Anton Menger (1841–1906). Their activity marks a general concern spreading in most European countries at the end of the nineteenth century about the insularity of formalism that was, up to then, the hallmark of the legal world.

As their principal aim, these scholars undertook to overcome narrow-minded and dogmatic thinking in the theory and practice of law and to make the legal system and legal culture suitable to the requirements of a modern industrial world. This endeavor of modernizing law triggered fundamental and fierce debates about the concept of law, often called ...

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