Intellection and indiscipline

Peter Goodrich

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


A discipline will usually become the object of study and its relationship to other disciplines a moment of concern when its borders are precarious and its definition in dispute. Law, 'the oldest social science', is arguably both prior to discipline - it emerges initially and most forcefully as a practice - and without discipline, its object being potentially all human behaviour. If law is necessarily between and among disciplines, both prone to moonlighting and everywhere homeless, it will also always be in some mode of scholarly crisis. Certain conclusions follow. Law is paradoxically dependent upon other disciplines for its access to the domains that it regulates. The greater its epistemic dependency, however, the slighter its political acknowledgment of that subordination. Which allows a positive thesis: the epistemic drift of law can carry the discipline to a frank acknowledgment of the value of indiscipline both to novelty and intellection.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)460-480
Number of pages21
JournalJournal of Law and Society
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 2009

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Law


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