Pub. Date:
Harvard University Press
The Republic of Choice: Law, Authority, and Culture

The Republic of Choice: Law, Authority, and Culture

by Lawrence M. Friedman
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In this imaginative exploration of modern legal culture, Lawrence Friedman addresses how the contemporary idea of individual rights has altered the legal systems and authority structures of Western societies. Every aspect of law, he argues—from civil rights to personal-injury litigation to divorce law—has been profoundly reshaped, reflecting the power of this concept.

The new individualism is quite different from that of the nineteenth century, which stressed self-control, discipline, and traditional group values. Modern individualism focuses on the individual as the starting and ending point of life and assumes a wide zone of choice. Choice is vital, fundamental: the right to develop oneself, to build up a life uniquely suited to oneself through free, open selection among forms, models, and lifestyles. With striking clarity and force, Friedman demonstrates how the new individualism results from changes in the technological and social framework of society. Loose, unconnected, free-floating, mobile: this is the modern individual, at least in comparison with the immediate past.

Written for the general reader as well as lawyers and legal scholars, The Republic of Choice offers keen and original observations about legal culture and the public consciousness that informs and expresses it.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780674762602
Publisher: Harvard University Press
Publication date: 02/28/1990
Pages: 255
Product dimensions: 6.39(w) x 9.57(h) x 0.93(d)

About the Author

Lawrence M. Friedman is Marion Rice Kirkwood Professor of Law at Stanford Law School.

Table of Contents

1. Introduction

2. Legalism and Individualism

3. Modernity and the Rise of the Individual

4. Technology and Change

5. On Modern Legal Culture

6. The Chosen Republic

7. Gods, Kings, and Movie Stars

8. Crime, Sexuality, and Social Disorganization

9. The Life-Style Society

10. A Stab at Assessment

Appendix: Social Meanings of Key Terms



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The Republic of Choice: Law, Authority, and Culture 1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I had this book as a text in a sociology of law course at UCSD and this is the worst book on the treatment of this subject. The author loses focus very often in the subject matter in each chapter, and thus the clear point of the book is never really explicated. It is very hard for a college student, let alone a layman to fully comprehend this book, largely because of the inconsistent nature of the author's style of writing.