Existing approaches to the relation of law and society have for a long time seen law as either automous or grounded in society. Drawing on untapped resources in social theory, Fitzpatrick finds law pivotally placed in and beyond modernity. Being itself of the modern, law takes impetus and identity from modern society and, through incorporating 'pre-modern' elements of savagery and the sacred, it comes to constitute that very society. When placing law in such a crucial position for modernity, Fitzpatrick ranges widely from the colonizations of the Americas, through the thought of the European Enlightenment, and engages finally with contemporary arrogations of the 'global'. By extending his previous work on the origins of modernity, this book makes a significant contribution to continuing developments in law and society, legal philosophy, and jurisprudence.