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In ""Ideology and Community in the First Wave of Critical Legal Studies"" Richard W. Bauman presents an assessment of some of the key ideas developed by writers aligned with the early critical legal studies movement. This book examines several major themes and arguments in the first decade of critical legal scholarship, predominantly in the US in the period dating roughly from the mid-1970s to the mid-1980s.
Heterogeneous and progressive, the critical legal studies movement inspired a variety of leftist re-examinations and critiques of dominant liberal assumptions underlying the law and legal institutions. Bauman offers an exposition and assessment of the radical challenge to several central tenets of legal and political liberalism, including the values associated with individualism, moral skepticism, and state neutrality.
He maintains that radical critics associated with early critical legal studies misapprehended many of the important assumptions and commitments of contemporary political liberalism and tended to misconstrue liberalism as relying on specific, deficient metaphysical underpinnings. Although the quest therefore, might have failed, the early critical legal studies movement did succeed in sharpening discussions about the politics of law and legal interpretation and in providing a stimulus to other types of radical, contemporary critique.