L'arme du droit

L'arme du droit

The law as a Weapon

What use does politics of law serve? How has legal action progressively integrated itself into the repertory of resistance throughout the social movements and crises of the 20th century?
It is an integration that did not happen in a vacuum; the law seems in effect to live side by side with the established order of the state. Moreover, since the inception of the modern justice system, recourse to the law is considered a legitimate resource in the defense of liberties. But it is really in the 21st century, in the wake of big business, and before that in the 20th century, that the law progressively acquired, in the 1930s and then of course after May 1968, a new place in political struggle. One could also trace numerous ties between the subversive and activist uses of the law invented in the 1970s and the development of an expert militancy, applied to the use of law at the dawn of the 21st century, particularly in the formation of NGOs as actors on the international stage.

Beyond the French example, the work is relevant to the North American tradition, in the mode of Law and Society, an earlier model for the studied actors (notably to emphasize the role of national juridic cultures.) In blending approaches, from biographical analyses of attorneys engaged in the political battles of the 20th century to a full account of the contemporary transnational dynamics of the mobilization of law for the causes of the environment and human rights, the book reveals an often neglected aspect of dissent, that of the use of the law as a political weapon.

KEY WORDS: Sociology of Law - Defense of Liberties - Justice - Iinternational Justice - Political Conflict - Engaged Attorneys - Expert Militancy