Research Handbooks in Comparative Law series
Edited by Pier Giuseppe Monateri
Chapter 3: Method?
Simone Glanert Method is a digression.1 It is hardly an exaggeration to think of method as a disciplinary hallmark. No discipline, it seems, can lay claim to intellectual respectability unless it features an accredited method. But comparative law seems unusual in as much as it is often reduced to a method – and this, by comparatists themselves for whom comparative law would be a strictly methodological endeavour. In a remark made on the occasion of a debate at the 1900 international conference on comparative law in Paris, Frederick Pollock thus defended the view that ‘comparative law … is but the introduction of the comparative method into law’.2 In effect, it is argued that ‘[t]he method called [c]omparative [l]aw can be used for a variety of practical or scholarly purposes’.3 Along converging lines, it is said that ‘the method of comparative law’ is ‘not only … a method of thinking … but also a method of working’.4 Some comparatists approach the matter in the broadest terms and conceive of comparative law as a ‘cognitive method’.5 In the words of a leading British academic, for example, ‘“[c]omparative [l]aw” denotes a method of study and research’.6 Other authors draw a more speciﬁc connection between method and scientiﬁcity. They point to the fact that ‘[c]omparative law … is the comparative method as applied to the domain of legal Benjamin, Walter, The Origin of German Tragic Drama. Trans. John Osborne. New York: Verso, 1998: 28 [‘Methode ist Umweg’] (1925). 2 Pollock, Frederick,...
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