Law and politics : a cross-cultural Encyclopedia

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Law and politics : a cross-cultural Encyclopedia

Bibliographic Details

Title: Law and politics : a cross-cultural encyclopedia

Author: Daniel P. Strouthes.
Publisher: Santa Barbara, Calif. : ABC-CLIO, c1995.
LC Classification: K 487 .P65S77 1995X
Pages: 301 p. : ill., maps ; 26 cm.
ISBN: 0874367778
Note: Includes bibliographical references (p. 275-283) and index.

Law and politics : a cross-cultural encyclopedia Reviews

Choice Review

In the 121 entries in this predominantly non-Western examination of cross-cultural patterns, Strouthes seeks to define the central concepts of law and politics, illuminate the societal varieties, and contrast these with examples from US law. In the text of each entry, references are given in abbreviated form; full citations are found at the end of the entry and in a cumulative bibliography of 252 titles at the end of the book. Extracts from original texts are included.

To the degree that Strouthes provides opportunity for readers to become enthused by the sheer range of alternatives, the work is a success. The volume is visually appealing and contains a 14-page index, but as a reference source it has some perplexing aspects. In a volume that purports to be cross-cultural, it seems out of place for some entries to give only the US definition (see “Legal Fiction” and “Legal Realism”). Readers have no way to know down which countries’ legal avenues they are about to travel. Although this makes for fascinating reading, the full reference value may be elusive. For example, the entry under “Fraud” discusses only China, and under “Sanction” only the Ifugao are considered. Using a picture of Lt. Col. Oliver North to illustrate the entry for “Oath” is a bit odd, as is David Koresh in a nuclear family pose with “wife, Rachel, and son Cyrus” for “Revitalization Movements.”

Since this resource breaks new ground, it will be valued to the degree that it begins to address the subject. General readers; lower-division undergraduates.

G. R. Walden Ohio State University, Choice 1996-06-01.

Library Staff Publications Review

This concise encyclopedia aspires to define important concepts of law and politics while emphasizing
similarities and differences among different legal and political entities. The alphabetically arranged
entries, which range in length from 100 to 3,000 words, cover the rather specific (“servitas” and “legal
fiction”) to the very broad (“natural law” and “jurisprudence”). Strouthes’s goal “is to provide a precise
and accurate definition for an important concept, as well as some concise background detail and discussion,
using data gathered from a variety of legal and political systems around the globe” (p. xi). Many definitions
include illustrative examples from U.S. law and contrasting examples from other legal systems. Law and
Politics concludes with a 250-entry bibliography of articles and books, and a subject index.

This reviewer found it hard to get a handle on what this book is. Strouthes may have intended to
create a smaller encyclopedia that grew somewhat unwieldy. But he also may have had in mind a grander
work-perhaps an Oxford-like encyclopedia of law and politics-that proved to be a larger bite than one
person could reasonably chew. Users end up with a work that struggles to be all things to all people, and
which in the end is difficult to classify. It is not easy to find the connection between “Big man,” “Black
market,” and” Canon law” -all of which are defined in the encyclopedia.

It is probably impossible to create a cohesive cross-cultural encyclopedia of law and politics in
approximately 300 pages, but Strouthes gave it a shot. Law and Politics offers interesting definitions that
may benefit some researchers, particularly college students. However, libraries not having this volume
on their shelves will not be doing their patrons too much of a disservice.

Heller, James S., “Book Review of Law and Politics: A Cross-Cultural Encyclopedia” (1997). Library Staff Publications. Paper 68.


Using an alphabetical arrangement, this title explores how law & politics exist & function in different cultures.
Law and Politics gathers the multicultural themes and variations of law and politics into one comprehensive volume. It provides a unique examination of the legal and political structures underlying all societies.

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