The metaphor of the mirror has proven irresistible to scholars searching for ways of connecting legal and social change. Its use dates back to Andrew Horne's fourteenth-century book on Anglo-Norman customs, The Mirror of Justices. In its modern formulation, however, the theory owes most to Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. (1841–1935), one of the architects of sociological jurisprudence. In an 1885 address to the Suffolk Bar Association, he asked: “What … [is t]his abstraction called the Law, wherein, as in a magic mirror, we see reflected, not only our own lives, but the lives of all men that have been!” (Howe 1962, 21–23).

Contemporary Use

More recently, Holmes's approach has found expression among scholars of law and society, notably Lawrence Friedman. “This book,” Friedman wrote in the preface ...

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