In this article I address the historical interrelationship of law and social science. I explore the separation of "law" and "social science" during the later 19th century, examine their relationship over the next 50 years, and finally take up their more elaborate post-World War II interaction, culminating in the birth and development of the law and society movement. The narrative focuses on two realms of encounter, the intellectual and the institutional, or "spatial," and in the latter case on two particular locales-the academy and the state. Histories of the interaction of law and social science have mostly pursued its academic aspect, resulting in a history of encounters expressed primarily as pedagogical disputes. But encounters between law and the social science disciplines are also competitions between distinct languages of state formation. Moments of encounter are moments of rivalry in the state, not simply in the common room. Mostly, I conclude, law wins.

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