08 June 2021

BOOK: Laura L. FORD, The Intellectual Property of Nations - Sociological and Historical Perspectives on a Modern Legal Institution (Cambridge: CUP, 2021). ISBN 9781316648483, 39.99 USD


(Source: CUP

CUP is publishing a new book on the history of intellectual property law.


Drawing on macro-historical sociological theories, this book traces the development of intellectual property as a new type of legal property in the modern nation-state system. In its current form, intellectual property is considered part of an infrastructure of state power that incentivizes innovation, creativity, and scientific development, all engines of economic growth. To show how this infrastructure of power emerged, Laura Ford follows macro-historical social theorists, including Michael Mann and Max Weber, back to antiquity, revealing that legal instruments very similar to modern intellectual property have existed for a long time and have also been deployed for similar purposes. Using comparative and historical evidence, this groundbreaking work reflects on the role of intellectual property in our contemporary political communities and societies; on the close relationship between law and religion; and on the extent to which law's obliging force depends on ancient, written traditions.


Laura R. Ford, Bard College, New York

Laura R. Ford is Assistant Professor of Sociology at Bard College. Professor Ford is a former attorney turned sociologist, specializing in historical sociology and the sociological theory of Max Weber.



1. Legal Institutions and Social Power: Setting the Stage

2. Legal Orders and Social Performance: Founding Facebook

3. Instruments of Legal Power in the Roman Republic

4. Semantic Legal Ordering: Idealizing Roman Law

5. Cultural Transformations: Christianizing Legal Power

6. Privileges and Immunities in a Sacramentalizing Order

7. Administrative Kingship and Covenantal Bonds: Early Roots of Intellectual Property in England

8. Intellectual Property in a Nationalizing Order

9. Cultural Transformations: Naturalizing Intellectual Property

10. Semantic Legal Ordering: Idealizing Intellectual Property

11. Instruments of Legal Power in the American Republic

12. Legal Institutions and Social Performance: Founding a Global Order

Conclusion – The Intellectual Property of Nations.


More info here

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