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Progress in Human Geography


agency, law, legal geography, Marxism, structure


We argue that legal geography’s ability to produce holistic knowledge about law and legal relations is hampered by the qualified dominance in the field of what we refer to as a contingency orientation. This phrase refers to both the belief that law, legal relations, and legal outcomes are more open and contingent than they appear to be, and to an empirical interest in bringing to light moments when law, legal relations, and legal outcomes appear to depart from dominant representations of these as closed, determinate, aspatial, and wholly formal. Because holistic accounts of the social world require attention to both agency and structure, both contingency and determination, we call for a stream of scholarship within legal geography the purpose of which is to give more explicit and concerted attention to structure and determination than there has heretofore been in the field, and to produce research-based theoretical knowledge that can thus improve the holism of our collective understanding of the law.




This is the accepted manuscript version of an article published in Progress in Human Geography 44, no. 5, (2020): 832-851. htps://

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