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LPE Field Guide: A Brief Reading List


Sam Aber (@samuel_aber) is a 3L at Yale Law School and editor of the LPE Blog.

Caroline Parker (@CarolineLParker) is a former co-president of the LPE student group and editor for the blog.

As we promised in our post on Monday, below is a list of recommended readings—mostly, but not entirely, from the blog—that helped orient us to the critical and constructive moves of LPE. Our choices are highly partial and subjective, and there is a vast literature on the Blog and elsewhere that can help to orient the critically-minded law student. But this is a brief place to start. 

Foundations of LPE

To start, here are some foundational readings that introduce the broad themes of Law and Political Economy:

Some Fundamental Concepts

  • Racial capitalism: For a primer on racial capitalism, we recommend this explainer by Robin D. G. Kelley and this post by Angela Harris on the relationship between race and LPE.
  • Neoliberalism: For an overview of the (often slippery) concept, we recommend this post identifying four “neoliberal forms of argument,” as well as this primer, which includes an annotated bibliography of other sources. For a deeper dive into the relationship between law and neoliberalism, this article is essential. 
  • Social reproduction: On the relationship between LPE and feminist accounts social reproduction, we reommend this explainer post and this post on LPE and care work.
  • Law and economics: This article contains a useful characterization of law and economics as it is usually approached in the 1L curriculum and suggests some of its flaws. This pair of blog posts helps explain why the focus on “maximizing” wealth obscures questions of equity and justice. 
  • Structural inequality: See this pair of blog posts on structural inequality and the law. 
  • Questioning the public-private distinction: We recommend some of the posts that appear in the following section on 1L classes, including this piece on contracts and this one on property.

Black-Letter Bread and Butter for 1Ls

A deeper look at the wide variety of topics covered on the LPE Blog can, of course, be found by searching the Blog or exploring its ever-growing collection of syllabi, primers, and videos. 

If this work speaks to you, we would encourage you to get involved in LPE community at your school. Join your school’s LPE chapter, connect with faculty who have written for the blog (or who like our tweets!), start a reading group, or sign up for LPE Project events. Happy reading!