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date: 25 March 2019

Abstract and Keywords

Historians affiliated with Critical Legal Studies (CLS) treated their critiques of law as complete when finished, as the last thing that could be said on the subject. Why this is so is quite unclear, especially given that they regularly cited late twentieth-century scholarship that offered reasons why all groundings for thought were debatable. By not critiquing their own set of assumptions as best as they could, CLS historians created the appearance that they believed they occupied a position outside of history and interest, this at the same time that they were objecting to the implicit adoption of such a position by others. CLS scholars thus lost the possibility of strengthening their own scholarship by failing to put their own grounding assumptions under pressure. A modest examination of CLS historical work on labour law suggests how a self-critical awareness might have strengthened even the strongest of such scholarship.

Keywords: legal history, Critical Legal Studies, CLS, historical work, legal critique

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