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The Politics of the Judiciary

The epistemological and methodological differences between legal scholarship and most other built environment research styles also generate cultural differences between the two. These produce expectations regarding the external appearance of academic research within the field which legal scholars often struggle to satisfy. These may relate to expectations about the form and appearance of research outputs, about the process which is undertaken in generating the research, and about the more general behavioural characteristics of researchers within the field. In their seminal work, Academic Tribes and Territories, Becher and Trowler (2001) have demonstrated how individual academic communities (tribes) develop cultural norms which are closely associated with the particular knowledge areas (territories) which they inhabit. In particular they demonstrate a close correlation between Biglan’s (1973) hard/soft continuum of knowledge types (illustrated in Figure 3.2) and a corresponding continuum between what they describe as urban and rural research styles. Scientific research culture (including the prevailing culture within the built environment) conforms to an urban research pattern whilst the humanities (including law) typically exhibit the characteristics of a rural research community. They find, for example, that urban research communities like the built environment focus on narrower and more short-term research topics, are more competitive and are more influenced by the availability of external funding than their rural counterparts. They also describe a greater tendency for urban areas to be dominated by charismatic research leaders (the so-called ‘research stars’) than rural areas. Urban research is faster moving and more gregarious than that within rural environments and is therefore characterised by more networks, a higher level of conference attendance and an increased incidence of team working than in rural settings