Still others regard it neither as a sub-discipline of sociology nor as a branch of legal studies but as a field of research on its own right within the broader social science tradition. Accordingly, it may be described without reference to mainstream sociology as “the systematic, theoretically grounded, empirical study of law as a set of social practices or as an aspect or field of social experience”. It has been seen as treating law and justice as fundamental institutions of the basic structure of society mediating “between political and economic interests, between culture and the normative order of society, establishing and maintaining interdependence, and constituting themselves as sources of consensus, coercion and social control”. More specifically, sociology a global introduction free pdf download of law consists of various approaches to the study of law in society, which empirically examine and theorize the interaction between law, legal, non-legal institutions and social factors.
Its object encompasses the historical movement of law and justice and their relentless contemporary construction, e. The roots of the sociology of law can be traced back to the works of sociologists and jurists of the turn of the previous century. The writings on law by these classical sociologists are foundational to the entire sociology of law today. A number of other scholars, mainly jurists, also employed social scientific theories and methods in an attempt to develop sociological theories of law. For Max Weber, a so-called “legal rational form” as a type of domination within society, is not attributable to people but to abstract norms.
Central to the development of modern law is the formal rationalisation of law on the basis of general procedures that are applied equally and fairly to all. Modern rationalised law is also codified and impersonal in its application to specific cases. In general, Weber’s standpoint can be described 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. Over time, law has undergone 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.
For Durkheim, 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. 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. He explored the relationship between law and general social norms and distinguished between “positive law,” consisting of the compulsive norms of state requiring official enforcement, and “living law,” consisting of the rules of conduct that people in fact obeyed and which dominated social life. The latter emerged spontaneously as people interacted with each other to form social associations. The centre of gravity of legal development therefore from time immemorial has not lain in the activity of the state, but in society itself, and must be sought there at the present time”.
Ehrlich called “living law”, that regulate everyday life, generally preventing conflicts from reaching lawyers and courts. Petrazycki’s work addressed sociological problems and his method was empirical, since he maintained that one could gain knowledge of objects or relationships only by observation. However, he couched his theory in the language of cognitive psychology and moral philosophy rather than sociology. Consequently, his contribution to the development of sociology of law remains largely unrecognized.