- Sociology of law
Sociology of law refers to both a sub-discipline of
sociologyand an approach within the field of legal studies. Sociology of law is a diverse field of study which examines the interaction of law with other aspects of society, such as the effect of legal institutions, doctrines, and practices on other social phenomena and vice versa. Some of its areas of inquiry include the social development of legal institutions, the social constructionof legal issues, and the relation of law to social change. Sociology of law also intersects with the fields of jurisprudence, economic analysis of law and more specialized subjects such as criminology. [Jary, "Collins Dictionary of Sociology", 636]
Initially, legal theorists were suspicious of the sociology of law. The influential Austrian jurist
Hans Kelsenattacked one of its founders, Kelsen's compatriot Eugen Ehrlich, who wanted to emphasise the difference between positive law, which lawyers learn and apply, and other forms of 'law' or social norms that regulate everyday life, generally preventing conflicts from reaching lawyers and courts. [Rottleuthner, "La Sociologie du Droit en Allemagne", 109
* Rottleuthner, "Rechtstheoritische Probleme der Sociologie des Rechts", 521] Around 1900
Max Weberdefined his "scientific" approach to law, identifying the "legal rational form" as a type of domination, not attributable to people but to abstract norms. [Rheinstein, "Max Weber on Law and Economy in Society", 336] Legal rationalism was his term for a body of coherent and calculable law which formed a precondition for modern political developments and the modern bureaucratic state and developed in parallel with the growth of capitalism. [Jary, "Collins Dictionary of Sociology", 636] Another classic sociologist, Émile Durkheim, wrote in "The Division of Labour in Society" that as society becomes more complex, the body of civil law concerned primarily with restitution and compensation grows at the expense of criminal laws and penal sanctions. [Johnson, "The Blackwell Dictionary of Sociology, 156] Durkheim also argued that a sociology of law should be developed alongside, and in close connection with, a sociology of morals, studying the development of value systems reflected in law. Other notable early legal sociologists included Hugo Sinzheimer, Theodor Geiger, Georges Gurvitchand Leon Petrażyckiin Europe, and William Graham Sumnerand Nicholas Timasheffin the U.S. [Gurvitch, "Sociology of Law", 142
* Papachristou, "Sociology of Law", 81–82]
The place of law in society was sociologically explored in the seminal works of both
Max Weberand Émile Durkheim. The writings on law by these scholars are foundational to the entire sociology of law today. [ [http://www.cas.sc.edu/socy/faculty/deflem/zencyL&Ssoclaw.html Deflem, Mathieu. 2007. "Sociological Theories of Law." Pp. 1410-1413 in Encyclopedia of Law and Society: American and Global Perspectives, edited by David S. Clark. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.] ]
Max Weberwas trained in the law and wrote about it extensively in his sociological writings. Weber formulated the sociology of law as an external approach to law that studies the empirical characteristics of law, as opposed to the internal perspective of the legal sciences and the moral approach of the philosophy of law. Central to the development of modern law for Weber was the formal rationalization of law on the basis of general procedures that are applied equally and fairly to all. Modern rationalized law is also codified and impersonal in its application to specific cases.
Émile Durkheimwrote about law extensively in his important book on the social division of labour. Law is an indicator of the mode of integration of a society, which can be mechanical, among identical parts, or organic, among differentiated parts such as in industrialized societies. Over the course of history, law undergoes a transformation from repressive law to restitutive law. Restitutive law operates in societies in which there is a high degree of individual variation and emphasis on personal rights and responsibilities. Though Durkheim is best known in socio-legal scholarship for the theses of his first book "The Division of Labour in Society" his later works contain much other, often differently oriented but no less significant, writing about law. [Cotterrell, "Emile Durkheim: Law in a Moral Domain" (1999)]
Modern Sociology of Law
After World War II, the study of law was not central in sociology, although some well-known sociologists did write about the role of law in society. In the work of the
Talcott Parsons, for instance, law is conceived as an essential mechanism of social control. In response to the criticisms that were developed against functionalism, other sociological perspectives of law emerged. Critical sociologists developed a perspective of law as an instrument of power. However, other theorists in the sociology of law, such as Philip Selznick, argued that modern law became increasingly responsive to a society's needs and had to be approached morally as well. Still other scholars, most notably the American sociologist Donald Black, developed a resolutely scientific theory of law on the basis of a paradigm of pure sociology. Equally broad in orientation, but again different, is the autopoietic systems theory of the German sociologist Niklas Luhmann.
In more recent years, a very wide range of theories has emerged in the sociology of law as a result of the proliferation of theories in sociology at large. Among the recent influences can be mentioned the work of the French philosopher
Michel Foucault, the German social theorist Jürgen Habermas, feminism, postmodernismand deconstruction, neo-Marxism, and behaviorism. The variety of theoretical influences in the sociology of law has also marked the broader law and society field. However, although the multi-disciplinary law and society field remains very popular, the disciplinary specialty field of the sociology of law is today also "better organized than ever in institutional and professional respects." [Deflem, Mathieu. 2007. "Sociological Theories of Law." Pp. 1410-1413 in Encyclopedia of Law and Society: American and Global Perspectives, edited by David S. Clark. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.]
Law and Society
In legal studies, the sociology of law is part of a more broadly conceived
law and societyapproach or socio-legal studies. Its focus is on theoretically guided empirical studies. As such it draws on and contributes to social theory. The sociology of law is not to be confused with sociological jurisprudence. The latter is a juristic perspective, developed in the United States by Roscoe Poundand by earlier jurists in various European countries, that seeks to base legal arguments on sociological insights.
To be described:
*Law making (social construction of law and mores)
Related sociological subfields include
political sociologyand the sociology of deviance. Other social sciences, such as Anthropology, Criminology, and Political Science, also include specialized approaches to the study of law.
International Institute for the Sociology of Law
*cite book |last=Gurvitch |first=Georges |authorlink=Georges Gurvitch |coauthors=Hunt, Alan |title=Sociology of Law |year=1942—New edition 2001 |publisher=Transaction Publishers |location=Athens |isbn=0-765-80704-1|chapter=Max Weber and Eugene Ehrlich
*cite book|title=Collins Dictionary of Sociology|year=1995|last=Jary| first=David|coauthors=Julia Jary|publisher=HarperCollins|isbn=0004708040
*cite book|title=The Blackwell Dictionary of Sociology|year=1995|last=Johnson| first=Alan|publisher=Blackwells publishers|isbn=1557861161
*el icon cite book |last=Papachristou |first=T.K. |authorlink= |coauthors= |title=Sociology of Law |year=1999 |publisher=A.N. Sakkoulas Publishers |location=Athens |isbn=9-601-50106-1|chapter=The Sociological Approach of Law
*cite book|title=Max Weber on Law and Economy in Society|year=1954|last=Rheinstein| first=M.|publisher=Harvard University Press
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* [http://www2.asanet.org/sectionlaw/ American Sociological Association Section: Sociology of Law]
* [http://www.isa-sociology.org/rc12.htm International Sociological Association: Research Committee on Sociology of Law RC12]
* [http://www.socoflaw.net/ Socoflaw.net: Website of Mathieu Deflem's "Sociology of Law" (Cambridge University Press, 2008)]
* [http://www.slsa.ac.uk/ Socio-Legal Studies Association]
* [http://www.lawandsociety.org/ Law and Society Association]
* [http://fljs.org/ Foundation for Law, Justice and Society]
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