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David A. Westbrook

Louis A. Del Cotto Professor; Director for Global Strategic Initiatives

Research Focus: Corporations and Finance, International Law and Globalization, Political Economy and Social Theory

Links: Curriculum Vitae (PDF), SSRN, Personal Website

Contact Information

521 O'Brian Hall, North Campus
Buffalo, NY 14260-1100
Phone: 716-645-2073
Email: dwestbro@buffalo.edu

Faculty Assistant: Reigelman, Jessica

Between Citizen and State

From the Forward written by Charles Lemert, Professor of Sociology, Wesleyan University.

David Westbrook's Between Citizen and State: An Introduction to the Corporation, with its eye-opening clarity, its verve and humor, and its overall brilliance will serve readers who desire, as one should, to understand the corporations. In a world in which transnational corporations seem to hold upper hand, this would exclude practically no one.

[…] It is this sort of thinking for which Weber and Durkheim, even Marx, were reaching when they established the modern social sciences on the loose sand of the Between of structures and individuals.

[…] The service this book renders is all the more cultivated by its astonishing kindness. I mean nothing sentimental by this. But it must be noted that this wonderful book takes the long tradition and vexed meditations of social scientists by the scruff of the neck and washes away their failures with fresh warm water.

[…] I do not assume that David Westbrook is the only lawyer who understands these things. But surely he is among the best at exposing them in ways that we occasional outlaws and regular innocents as to the nature of the Law can understand. Not only that but anyone who tries to figure out what is wrong with most social sciences as they are taught and written would do well to study this book for its contributions to a kind but serious theory of the social Between.

The service this book renders is all the more cultivated by its astonishing kindness. I mean nothing sentimental by this. But it must be noted that this wonderful book takes the long tradition and vexed meditations of social scientists by the scruff of the neck and washes away their failures with fresh warm water.
– From the Foreword by Charles Lemert, Wesleyan University (Sociology)

"A lyrical description of the basic issues of corporation law. His book sets forth in a clear and easily digested manner the fundamental concerns which animate the dynamics of corporate law. At the same time, his exegesis of the "black letter" law is informed, and enhanced, by a thorough understanding of the current theoretical frameworks for thinking about corporations. His text will be a boon to law students and others interested in how the law enables and constrains corporations to act in the world."
Brandon Becker, Co-chair of the Securities Regulation Department, WilmerHale, former Director of the Division of Market Regulation, SEC

"The profound mind at work in these pages tests thin convention with thick critique, analysis so bracing that one wonders whether we can handle, as a practical matter, the complex cross-currents it untangles. Reading this penetrating meditation on the political sociology of corporate constructions seems imperative; whether we can come to grips with its blinding illumination is another question."
Lawrence A. Cunningham, George Washington University (Law)

"Between Citizen and State is a wonderfully written book that provides fresh insights into the law of corporations. While the text is anchored in the US legal tradition, it offers valuable lessons for law students and scholars in company law in the UK, the European Union and other parts of the world. The metaphor of the theater, used brilliantly by the author, is most fitting in the study of this legal fiction, the corporation, which is at the core of a free capitalist society."
Rosa M. Lastra, Queen Mary, University of London (Law)

"'In this brilliant and original book David Westbrook makes visible the diverse logics that organize actors even in settings, such as the corporation, where we might assume one single such logic. We can recognize this in a play. But the language of the law tends to flatten its own subject. In this author's hands, corporate law reveals its logical complexity."
Saskia Sassen, Columbia University (Sociology)

"The original virtual person, centuries old, the corporation is nonetheless the quintessential post-modern actor. Westbrook's charming, yes charming, introduction to the corporation offers everything you ever wanted to know about this legal fiction in concise, readable, yet erudite prose. An absolute must for law students, Between Citizen and State, is a compelling read for citizens and entrepreneurs, as well as scholars."
Susan Silbey, MIT (Sociology and Anthropology)

See also

Citizen

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