Ricardo Salvatore, Carlos Aguirre, and Gilbert M. Joseph's edited collection, Crime and Punishment in Latin America, joins a growing body of scholarship -- including several volumes authored or edited by Salvatore and/or Aguirre-- under the broad rubric of "new legal history." As Salvatore and Aguirre explain in their introduction, this approach rejects seeing laws as either "a purely normative framework that guaranteed social equilibrium through the application of 'justice'" or "a set of state-produced norms that reflected and reproduced elite power" (1). Instead, within new legal history, "law produces and reformulates culture … and it shapes and is shaped by larger processes of political, social, economic, and cultural change" (1-2). If this approach sounds a bit like "new social history" of the 1980s and '90s, it should. Indeed, Douglas Hay, who reexamined British social history using legal sources, offers a comparative afterword, including suggestions for further research.
Copyright © 2012-2013 Estudios Interdisciplinarios de América Latina y el Caribe.
Editores: Ori Preuss; Nahuel Ribke
Instituto Sverdlin de Historia y Cultura de América Latina, Escuela de Historia
Universidad de Tel Aviv, Ramat Aviv,
P.O.B. 39040 (69978), Israel.
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