Between a Rock and a Hard Place: Legal Studies Beyond Both Disciplinarity and Interdisciplinarity

Mariana Valverde


The label “interdisciplinary” has been very useful for critical legal scholars seeking to distinguish their work from doctrinal research and teaching. Its pragmatic value, however, is not matched by precision in meaning, largely because is not clear whether law is a discipline that could or should be synthesized with other disciplines. After a reflection on the difficulties of determining whether law is indeed a discipline, the article concludes that critical legal scholars could benefit from abandoning both disciplinary ambitions and interdisciplinary claims as anything other than gestures conveying institutional projects and priorities. The term that is suggested as a replacement is the more modest “infradisciplinary," which has the virtue of evoking law’s venerable pre-disciplinary past.

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