Adam Podgòrecki Prize >>> 2017
The winner of the Adam
Podgòrecki Prize 2017 is Lawrence Friedman.
For the entire life of the law and society movement in the United States, and for the last half century across the world, Lawrence M. Friedman has been an outstanding intellectual leader. His corpus of scholarship may be without equal in its extent, quality, topical diversity and geographical reach.
His History of American Law, first published in 1973, was a bravura intellectual opus of historical craft. In characteristic fashion, he began in the American colonies and crossed three centuries. His pen reached across family law and corporate, civil procedure and property law, crime and punishment, formal law and legal institutions. Quite apart from its enormous impact on scholarship it earned a rare accolade from outside the academy—the New York Times Book Review judgment that this is “The best single, coherent history of American law that now exists . . . It is a stupendous achievement.”
If historical depth were not enough, he published three editions of his comprehensive Introduction to American Law, the latest edition so current that it has a 2017 imprint. In the last several years his extraordinary flow of publications continues unabated.
He has turned his fertile mind and supple pen to law and public theater, to the allure of big trials. With vivid description and subtle analysis, he explores variations on the themes of celebrity trials and tabloid trials, political trials and whodunit trials, at official trials and horrors of unofficial trials, such as lynchings and vigilante actions.
He very recently has the daring to confront afresh perhaps the most fundamental question of sociolegal scholarship – does law affect behavior – with the title of his 2016 Harvard U Press book expressed in a single word: IMPACT. In this work, he circles back 40 years to his influential book, The Legal System: A Social Science Perspective, and now brings to bear decades of research and writing to offer, as he says, a “kind of summation,” to show “some sort of order underneath the chaos, some sort of harmony in all the conflicting voices and noises.”
The Podgerecki Prize is awarded to scholars for “outstanding lifetime contributions to socio-legal scholarship and research” and, as befits a prize named in honor of the distinguished Polish scholar, Professor Adam Podgerecki, the prize awarded by the Research Committee on the Sociology of Law recognizes scholars whose work extends in influence across the international landscape of the RCSL itself.
Professor Friedman’s influence has been relentlessly international, indeed, truly global. His name is as well known in sociolegal circles of Japan as it is in Venezuela, in Spain as it is in Jakarta. Friedman’s scholarship has inspired sociologists and historians, anthropologists and legal scholars, North and South Americans, Asians and Europeans, and beyond, to examine the life of the law in their regions. His fascination with legal culture has rippled across the world. His writings have been translated into German, Polish, Chinese, Spanish, Korean, Russian and Indonesian, among others. His institutional leadership has also spanned continents. He has been a leader in the RCSL for decades and a Board member of the Onati Institute for the Sociology of Law.
The 2017 Prize Committee, constituted by Professor Malgorzata Fuszara (University of Warsaw), Professor Jose Ramon Bengoetxea (University of the Basque Country), and Professor Terence Halliday (American Bar Foundation), and the leadership of the Research Committee on the Sociology of Law, led by Professor Masayuki Murayama, are honored to recognize Professor Friedman’s lifetime achievement of scholar¬ship by awarding him the 2017 Podgerecki Prize.
Photo Stefan Machura
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