Studies in Law and Politics

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The essays that comprise Studies in Law and Politics are by and large academic. But Laski had a purpose in addition to the purely scholarly: he was eagerly pursuing possibilities for social and political change. Laski sought tirelessly for opportunities to act on those possibilities and, as is the case throughout his work, his academic and political purposes have no clear boundary between them. Studies in Law of Politics was published at a crucial juncture in Laski's ideological metamorphosis. During this period he had become increasingly worried that socialists might not be able to achieve the growth of working-class power. Although the essays contained in the volume cover a wide range of topics, and a wide span of time since the mid-1920s, he brought them into unity by a common approach. Though he does not make his unifying premise immediately evident to his readers, he clearly meant to chart the growth of power of those who had previously been without influence. His goal also was to identify the problems facing growth in a highly modernized society. Studies in Law and Politics reveals Laski's growing realization that the road to socialism might be more difficult than what he had believed when he wrote his pluralist works. The book reflects the mind of a thinker who was not content to write exclusively as an academic or a political activist. His view was that, while progressive reforms have been achieved in the past, they are not easily accomplished, and obstacles to further reforms should not be underestimated. This sober work offers much insight into Laski's intellectual development, as well as the times about which he wrote.