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What Use to Us is the Law? A book by Jacques Commaille

Jacques Commaille, emeritus professor of sociology at ENS Paris-Saclay, studies the place of law and justice in the social and political regulation of societies.

In his new book A quoi nous sert le droit ? (What Use To Us is the Law?) (Gallimard, "Folio Essais"), he asks why the law is such an effective medium through which to analyse changes in society.

In seeking an answer to this question, he first deconstructs the law by proposing what he calls a model of dual legality with, on one side, law as meta-Reason and, on the other, law connected to society.

After this attempt to grasp the reality of law in the functioning of societies and in the practice of legal professionals in a new way, the societal changes that the law reveals are addressed from two angles: space (the recomposition of the territories of law) and time (changes in the temporality of law).

These transformations of the law, which are inseparable from those of societies, call then for a more general question to be explored: that of the political order and its possible futures.
Finally, they suggest re-examining not only the modes of knowledge of the law, but also the general analytical frameworks of the social and political regulation of contemporary societies.

Jacques Commaille, law and society

Jacques Commaille is a researcher at the Institute for Political Social Sciences (CNRS - ENS Paris-Saclay- Université Paris Ouest Nanterre-La Défense).

He is editor-in-chief of the journal Droit et Société and co-editor of the collection "Droit et société" (LGDJ-Lextenso Editions).

He is actively involved in the development of social sciences in France (through the Alliance Athena), the Maisons des Sciences de l'Homme and the Institutes of Advanced Studies.

He holds an honorary doctorate from the Université Libre de Bruxelles and received the 2014 Stanton Wheeler Mentorship Award from the Law and Society Association.