A legal field in action: The case of divorce arrangements in Israel

Daphna Hacker*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This paper suggests a theoretical and methodological framework that integrates Bourdieu's conception of the juridical field with Mnookin and Kornhauser's claim of the centrality of the action occurring in the shadow of the law. This framework is constructed based on a study of the Israeli legal field governing divorce that included the analysis of 360 divorce files and in-depth interviews with more than 40 divorcees and legal and therapeutic professionals. The study allows a rare exploration of a legal field in action, including the main positions within the field and the power relations between them, as well as the field's boundaries and game rules. The findings illustrate the importance of Bourdieu's fields theory if and when opened up to the informal dimensions of law and demonstrate the potential of the suggested framework to the sociological understanding of law in action.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-33
Number of pages33
JournalInternational Journal of Law in Context
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2008


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