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The critical legal studies movement is often viewed as highly theoretical, characterized by impenetrable scholarship that makes frequent reference to the work of"famous dead Europeans." Indeed, the theoretical detachment of critical legal studies from real-world concerns has led some to speculate that the methodologies of the movement are so abstract and stylized that they could be used to deny the validity of distinctions that we commonly rely upon in everyday life-even something as basic as the distinction between up and down. Given the level of abstraction at which most critical legal studies analysis occurs, one might wonder why a critical legal studies perspective would be offered at a conference intended to focus on the ways in which theory can affect the practice of contract law. Despite its theoretical nature, I suspect that critical legal studies has both a mundane and a more significant message for the practical application of law.

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1988 Ann. Surv. Am. L. 223 (1988)