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“Can You Get There from Here?” Translating Law and Social Science: Linguistic Tools for a New Legal Realism

August 2016

Featured in Translating the Social World for Law: Linguistic Tools for a New Legal Realism (Oxford University Press) 

This article analyzes two sets of interactions between legal and linguistic scholars, using these encounters to demonstrate systematic ways in which law resists translations from other disciplines. The first encounter occurred at a conference in which legal scholars and linguists came together to attempt to find common ground. A transcript of this conference was subsequently published. The second encounter occurred during two meetings of the working group whose discussions led to formulating this volume. In that second encounter, which was also taped and transcribed, scholars from a variety of fields attempted to identify sources of difficulties (as well as successes) in the prior conversations during the earlier conference. Mertz compares both transcripts to highlight how different kinds of linguistic approaches shed light on legal translations of social science.

Elizabeth Mertz edits this edition with William K. Ford and Gregory Matoesian.