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Vol 21 No 9 Sept/Oct 2016

Book of the Month

Cover of Goode on Commercial Law

Goode on Commercial Law

Edited by: Ewan McKendrick
Price: £170.00

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When Formality Works

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Arthur L. StinchcombeProfessor Emeritus of Sociology, Northwestern University, USA

ISBN13: 9780226774954
ISBN: 0226774953
Published: October 2001
Publisher: The University of Chicago Press
Format: Hardback
Price: £49.00

In this exploration of the concept of formality, or governing by abstraction, Arthur Stinchcombe breathes new life into an idea that scholars have all but ignored in recent years.;We have come to assume that governing our social activities by advance planning--by creating abstract descriptions of what ought to happen and adjusting these descriptions as situations change--is not as efficient and responsive as dealing directly with the real substance of the situation at hand. Stinchcombe argues the opposite. When a plan is designed to correct itself and keep up with the reality it is meant to govern, it can be remarkably successful. He points out a wide range of examples where this is the case, including architectural blueprints, immigration law, the construction of common law by appeals courts, Fannie Mae's secondary mortgage market, and scientific paradigms and programs.;Arguing that formality has been misconceived as consisting mainly of its defects, Stinchcombe shows how formality, at its best, can serve us much better than ritual obedience to poorly laid plans or a romantic appeal to ""real life.""

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