ENVIRONMENT AND ENFORCEMENT: REGULATION AND THE SOCIAL DEFINITION OF POLLUTION
When I was a student at Warwick University Law School environmental law had not yet been invented as a subject in the undergraduate curriculum. Teaching about pollution control law was tacked onto the planning law course. One book on the reading list for this course stood out: Keith Hawkins’ Environment and Enforcement’: Regulation and the Social Definition of Pollution. The book did not provide a dry exposition of relevant statutory provisions and case law. Instead it brought environmental ‘law in action’ to life by conveying findings from detailed empirical investigation into the day to day enforcement of water pollution control law. Hawkins had accompanied water pollution control inspectors on their visits to regulated factories that were discharging pollutants into the aquatic environment. The book argues that the meaning of environmental legal obligations, in this case water pollution control offences, is constructed in close interaction and negotiation between regulators and regulated companies. Social and moral norms play a significant role in decisions about whether water pollution offences are actually prosecuted. Formal legal action is often the last resort in order to achieve environmental protection.
DIALEKTISCHE PHANTASIE: DIE GESCHICHTE DER FRANKFURTER SCHULE UND DES INSTITUTS FUER SOZIALFORSCHUNG 1923-1950
I started studying for a law degree at Giessen University in Germany. Not on the reading list for this law course was Martin Jay’s history of the Frankfurt School. The book is fascinating also because it sheds light on the history of academic life in 20th century Germany. The Institute emigrated from Germany to the US in the 1930s, but returned to Frankfurt in the post-war period.
Martin Jay’s book sets out in a lively manner key tenets of critical social theory, and thereby provides an insight into the ideas of key thinkers associated with the Frankfurt School, such as Theodor Adorno, Erich Fromm, Max Horkheimer and Juergen Habermas. The book provides a subtle and nuanced account. It shows, on the one hand, that the social problems addressed by critical social theory are fundamental and enduring, while, on the other hand, they also reflect the specific histories and cultures of the societies in which they emerge. The book changed how I thought about law, to see law not just as ‘lawyers’ law’ but as one of the most fundamental social orders in society that establish and entrench often economically grounded power relations. The book opened up a view into a rich body of theoretical sociological thinking about law and society, which could also help to make sense of empirical ‘facts’ and ultimately help to rethink legal relationships between citizens.