Law and Informal Practices is a work in socio-legal studies, examining the functions and effectiveness of law in the countries of the former Soviet Union. As the transition away from communism enters its second decade, the countries involved are confronted by an apparent failure of law. Understanding the newly formed social order in which law is powerless is a challenge to the assumptions of western jurisprudence. The contributors to this book take up that challenge. Using the framework of contemporary theory, ten specialists in different aspects of social science analyse the status of post-communist law from a variety of perspectives. Their emphasis is on the interplay between law and social rms, informal practices, and human values. Their work contributes to several of the wider ongoing debates in socio-legal studies: on the rule of law and its role in maintaining social order; on the interaction between law and social rms, relation between legitimacy and legality; and on the relative merits of solving problems by informal means such as networking or the use of intermediaries rather than by formal, institutionalised processes. At the same time, the book is intended to meet the needs of those interested t just in law but in the post-communist region. Blending theory with case studies, each contributor focuses on a single sector, such as the political system, worker-management relations, human rights, the machinery by which law is made and implemented, or the cultural and historical background of the societies under consideration. The majority of the chapters draw directly upon the authors' own experience and empirical research.
Marina Kurkchiyan is Socio-Legal Research Fellow, Wolfson College, University of Oxford. She was previously North Fellow at the Centre for Socio-Legal Studies and Fellow of Keble College, Oxford, Visiting Fellow, New Hall, Cambridge, Fulbright Scholar, Centre for Russian and East European Studies, University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, Charter Fellow in the Humanities and Social Sciences, Wolfson College, Oxford, and Lecturer, then Senior Lecturer, in Sociology, Yerevan State University.