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Community And The Law

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Community And The Law

A Critical Reassessment of American Liberalism and Japanese Modernity

Takao Tanase , Luke Nottage , Leon Wolff

Takao Tanase, Professor of Legal Sociology, Chuo University Law School, Japan. Translated and edited by Luke Nottage, Professor of Law, University of Sydney and Leon Wolff, Associate Professor of Law, Bond University, Australia

2010 224 pp Hardback 978 1 84844 785 1
ebook isbn 978 1 84980 354 0

Hardback £73.00 on-line price £65.70


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‘Takao Tanase seamlessly combines sociolegal and philosophical analysis as he explores the tensions between individual legal rights and communitarian values in settings ranging from post-divorce visitation rights to tort liability, lawyer–client relationships, and rising litigation rates. Contrasting Japan with the individualistic thrust of American law, Tanase stresses the importance of building legal processes that encourage stronger social and communal bonds. Students of law and society on all continents will find rich food for thought in this intellectually bold and intriguing volume.’
– Robert A. Kagan, University of California, Berkeley, US


Further information

This important book translates seven landmark essays by one of Japan’s most respected and influential legal thinkers. While Takao Tanase concedes that law might not matter as much in Japan as it does in the United States, in a provocative challenge to socio-legal researchers and comparative lawyers, he asks: why should it? The issue, he contends, is not whether law matters to society; it is how society matters to law.

Developing a descriptive and normative theory of community and the law, the author directly challenges the view that legal liberalism represents the pinnacle of legal achievement. He criticises liberalism for destroying community in the United States and for offering false hope for a delayed modernity in Japan. By applying a distinctive interpretivist methodology, he constructs a communitarian model of law and society that serves as an alternative to legal liberalism. The book challenges conventional understandings of such legal sociological staples as torts, lawyers’ ethics, family law, human rights, constitutionalism and litigiousness.

This fascinating book will prove a stimulating, thought provoking read for researchers and scholars of law, Japanese and American studies, sociology and jurisprudence.

Full table of contents

Contents: Part I: Introduction 1. Introduction — Community and the Law: A Critical Reassessment of American Liberalism and Japanese Modernity Part II: A Critique of American Liberalism 2. Invoking Law as Narrative: Lawyers’ Ethics and the Discourse of Law in the United States 3. The Moral Foundations of Tort Liability 4. Post-Divorce Child Visitations and Parental Rights: Insights from Comparative Legal Cultures Part III: A Normative Theory of Community and the Law 5. Rights and Community 6. Communitarianism and Constitutional Interpretation Part IV: A Re-Evaluation of Japanese Modernity 7. Japanese Modernity Revisited: A Critique of the Theory and Practice of Kawashima’s Sociology of Law 8. Litigation in Japan and the Modernisation Thesis Bibliography Index

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