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This is a radical reappraisal of the role of myth in modern society. Fitzpatrick uses the example of law, an integral category of modern social thought, to challenge the claims of modernity which deny the relevance of myth to the practice of law in modern society. Fitzpatrick argues that law is mythic both in its origin and as a continuing social force, and depends for its identity on other mythic categories, such as the nation, the individual and the 'sciences of man and society'. He traces the development of the hold of mythology on Western society to the Enlightenment, despite the supposedly secular rationality of that period, and shows how it was strengthened by the experience of imperialism, when European identity was created in opposition to racially defined 'others'. This work provides a challenge to current conceptions of legal and social theory, undermining the exclusive stands taken within these disciplines. It will interest those concerned with the history of European racism, and be an essential point of reference for all debates surrounding modernity, postmodernity and the law.