Communal Networks


© Amanda Perry-Kessaris
This image will appear as Figure 1: Key elements of a communal approach to law in Perry-Kessaris, A (forthcoming 2014) ‘Discovering the econo-socio-legal through a communal lens’ in D Schiff and R Nobel eds. Law, Society and Community: Socio-Legal Essays in Honour of Roger Cotterrell. Ashgate.

Since the mid 1990’s, Roger has used the concept of ‘networks of relations of community’ or more recently, ‘communal networks’ as a unit of analysis with which to map and evaluate the role of law in the world that exists beyond ad hoc and fleeting interactions. This image summarises (my interpretation of) the key concepts and relationships in Roger’s communal approach. There are many details and caveats that are not included. My intention is to invite the viewer in, reward them with a clear message as to the key elements of the communal approach, persuade them to explore the underlying text-based arguments, offer a point of orientation to which to return if textual times get tough, and perhaps to open new possibilities for dialogue as to the accuracy or otherwise of my interpretation of Roger’s work. My understanding of the essence of Roger’s communal approach is that law (in particular what one can think of as the legal mechanisms of expression, participation and coordination) supports trust (of the mutual interpersonal kind), and that trust is a cause and an effect of the relatively stable and sustained interactions known as ‘communal networks’: these networks can, on the basis of shared values and interests around which they cluster, be categorised into the four Weberian ideal types (belief, instrumental, affective, traditional).

To learn more about communal networks see Cotterrell, R (2006) Law, Culture and Society: Legal Ideas in the Perspective of Social Theory. Ashgate.



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