Broadening law’s context: materiality in socio-legal research

Nicole Graham, Margaret Davies, Lee Godden

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Citations (Scopus)


SYNOPSIS: Socio-legal studies is a ‘heterogeneous field’ 1 that encompasses a broad range of topics. Indeed, recently, legal scholars who regard their work as socio-legal have accepted the inclusion of less obvious and less conventional contexts and sites of socio-legal research including specifically science, technology and the environment on the basis that ‘materiality also matters in socio-legal studies’. 2 This paper explores the recent expansion of the category of socio-legal, or ‘law-in-context’ research to incorporate the methodologies of disciplines beyond the humanities and social sciences to include material contexts, or socio-materialities. We argue for a greater recognition of socio-materiality, defined as ‘material structures embodying social relations and vice versa’, 3 in socio-legal research, given that we face mounting environmental challenges–not least the relationship between law, climate and effective mitigation measures. These challenges call for different methodologies, for doing legal research differently by questioning and subverting the abstractness and abstraction of law.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)480-510
Number of pages31
JournalGriffith Law Review
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 27 Nov 2018


  • socio-legal studies
  • socio-legal research


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