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In Order without Law Robert C. Ellickson shows that law is far less important than is generally thought. He demonstrates that people largely govern themselves by means of informal rules-social norms-that develop without the aid of a state or other central coordinator. Integrating the latest scholarship in law, economics, sociology, game theory, and anthropology, Ellickson investigates the uncharted world within which order is successfully achieved without law.
The springboard for Ellickson's theory of norms is his close investigation of a variety of disputes arising from the damage created by escaped cattle in Shasta County, California. In "The Problem of Social Cost" --the most frequently cited article on law--economist Ronald H. Cease depicts farmers and ranchers as bargaining in the shadow of the law while resolving cattle-trespass disputes. Ellickson's field study of this problem refutes many of the behavioral assumptions that underlie Coase's vision, and will add realism to future efforts to apply economic analysis to law.
Drawing examples from a wide variety of social contexts, including whaling grounds, photocopying centers, and landlord-tenant relations, Ellickson explores the interaction between informal and legal rules and the usual domains in which these competing systems are employed. Order without Law firmly grounds its analysis in real-world events, while building a broad theory of how people cooperate to mutual advantage.
A welcome addition to the new literature on conflict, law, and informal social control in contemporary societies... [Order without Law] constitutes one of the most eloquent and powerful attacks yet on the widespread belief that government lies at the heart of social order in the modern world.
— M. P. Baumgartner
Uses theory and ethnography to explain norms in a manner that sociologists would do well to imitate. [Ellickson] presents evidence in an objective style that allows readers to reach their own verdicts, and his skillful storytelling accentuates his theoretical acumen.
— Jason Jimerson
"[A] fascinating book... Ellickson's clean prose and considerate rhetorical style are refreshing.
— William Fischel
Part I. Shasta County
1. Shasta County and Its Cattle Industry
2. The Politics of Cattle Trespass
3. The Resolution of Cattle-Trespass Disputes
4. Who Pays for Boundary Fences?
5. Disputes Arising out of Highway Collisions Involving Livestock
6. The Effects of Closed-Range Ordinances
Part II. A Theory of Norms
7. The System of Social Control
S. Shortcomings of Current Theories of Social Control
9. The Puzzle of Cooperation
10. A Hypothesis of Welfare-Maximizing Norms
11. Substantive Norms: Of Bees, Cattle, and Whales
12. Remedial Norms: Of Carrots and Sticks
13. Procedural and Constitutive Norms: Of Gossip, Ritual, and Hero Worship
14. Controller-Selecting Norms: Of Contracts, Custom, and Photocopies
Part III. The Future of Norms
15. Testing the Content of Norms
16. Conclusions and Implications
Appendix. Research Methods