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Law and Society

Law and Society: Introduction

For the purposes of this research guide, "law and society" represents the intersection between societal development, norms, and practices and the roles and functions of law and legal institutions.  It is multidisciplinary in nature, and may involve various research approaches and methodologies that are found in social and behavioral science disciplines, including sociology, psychology, anthropology, linguistics, ethnography, criminology, economics, political science, philosophy, history, and others.

The Law and Society Association (LSA) ( is a professional organization, founded in 1964, that is devoted to scholarship in this area.  The LSA meets once a year and publishes a scholarly journal, the Law & Society Review.

The following online reference materials provide information about law and society in general:

This Guide

This guide provides references to selected books, book series, journals, and other materials that are related to law in society, with particular focus on cross-disciplinary scholarship that is cultural in nature, such as law and sociology and law and anthropology.  

Research assistance is available to Harvard Law affiliates -- contact us at

The Harvard Library Catalog: HOLLIS

The Harvard Library catalog, HOLLIS, includes records for the millions of books and other items in all of the Harvard libraries' collections, including the law library.  It also includes index entries for periodical articles.

The Subject fields of many HOLLIS records include controlled, predefined vocabulary terms from a subject outline established by the Library of Congress, the Library of Congress Subject Headings (LCSH) (  Although there are also other lists of subject terms that catalogers also use, the LCSH subject keywords predominate in HOLLIS catalog records, especially in records for newer materials.

This guide includes links to pre-populated HOLLIS searches by subject, using LCSH and other predefined subject terms. There are also links to some general keyword searches, using terms of art that appear in the literature related to this topic. 

A link to a pre-populated search in this guide appears as follows:

HOLLIS Search: Subject = "Law -- Social Aspects"

The HOLLIS searches listed below are intentionally broad. To reconfigure and/or limit the displayed search results after clicking a link to a pre-populated search, you can do any or all of the following:

  1. Add additional keywords and re-run the search.
  2. Change the search parameters from "Everything" to "Library Catalog."  This will limit your search results to items that have been cataloged by the Harvard Libraries, and will exclude periodical articles.
  3. Change results display order by using the "Sort by" menu on the right -- for example, change the sort from Relevance to Date-Newest to view the newest items first.
  4. Use the limiting options on the right side of the screen: resource type, date range, location, subject, language, and more.

Selected HOLLIS Searches for Law and Society Research

Selected Books: General Treatises

Selected Books: Compilations and Readers

Selected Book Series