What is ‘Sociology of Law’

Explain about the “Sociology of Law” ? What is it?


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The Sociology of Law has its earliest foundations in the scholarship of Max Weber and Karl Renner, amongst many other distinguished subscribers, including Emile Durkheim and Vilhelm Aubert in the 20Thursdaycentury.

The field aims to exceed traditional legal boundaries by conveying into consideration the function of society and its system of values and norms. Despite the definitional challenges the field presently faces, the Sociology of Law has contributed positively to the critical analysis of specific issues and in opening up legal theory and pattern.

Sociology of Law Today

The Sociology of Law has foremost and foremost it’s foundations in the field of sociology. This country does, nevertheless, take an interdisciplinary as opposed to duel attack in analyzing and understanding the relationship between jurisprudence and society.

Within this country, it is cardinal to see legal constructions ( i.e. the legal system ) , legal procedure ( how jurisprudence is made ) and the interaction of the jurisprudence in social alteration and societal control. It is of import to critically analyze the impact, positive and negative, of jurisprudence on race, category, gender and other societal differential values, every bit good as foregrounding that:

  • Law needs to be understood as portion of societal establishments
  • It is of import to critically analyze how jurisprudence and society interact with each other.
  • Legal classs and legal logical thinking interact with societal hierarchies based on race, category, gender and gender.
  • It is of import to analyze dealingss between jurisprudence and societal control and societal alteration.

A sociological reading and application of the jurisprudence, nevertheless, does non exclude the survey of regulations but merely “differentiates between the announced aims of legal norms, on the one manus, and the existent workings and effects of jurisprudence, on the other” [ 1 ] . The values and application of sociology as a subject enrich the reading and application of jurisprudence in many countries, giving rise to the Sociology of Law as a unique and germinating country of cognition and expertness.

The survey and review of the Sociology of Law has been good underway since the mid-19Thursdaycentury. Whilst the development of the field has continued to the modern twenty-four hours, it is of import to admit and appreciate some of the cardinal minds and subscribers to the field.

Theoretical Background: Cardinal Thinkers

Max Weber

“Rational adjudication on the footing of strictly formal legal constructs is to be contrasted with a type of adjudication which is guided chiefly by sacred traditions without happening therein a clear footing for the determination of concrete cases”[ 2 ].

Weber provinces here that there are basically different signifiers of justness or legal determinations that are finally influenced by traditions and societal norms. He highlights that many legal systems are based on an irrational development of instance jurisprudence, based on case in point and administers by a extremely developed yet limited field of attorneies and legal experts. This conveys how per se linked social norms and values are to jurisprudence.

Vilhelm Aubert

“In order to understand the influence of a jurisprudence it is necessary to analyze the variables which intervene between the announcement of the jurisprudence and the behavior of the public”[ 3 ]

Aubert believed steadfastly that behavior is influenced by the jurisprudence and that is per se linked to the development of societal norms. This helps us to both review and understand the sociology of jurisprudence as an interdependent and reciprocally influencing field of reading.

Emile Durkheim

“ [ E ] really precept of jurisprudence can be defined as a regulation of sanctioned behavior. Furthermore it is apparent that countenances change with…gravity. It is right, so, to sort juridical regulations harmonizing to the different sanctions…attached to them” .[ 4 ]

Durkheim emphasised the influence of history in altering the nature of jurisprudence and its application. This is because of the expected fluctuation in societies’ values in regard to single rights and duties. This socio-legal review is detailed in his seminal workThe Division of Labour in Society.

O. Kahn-Freund

“It is one of the undertakings of a sociology of jurisprudence to research the societal forces which bring about the creative activity of legal norms and establishments and alterations in the positive law”[ 5 ]

Along with Georges Gurvitch and Karl Renner, Kahn-Freund emphasises the interaction between the society and legal constructions as a critical consideration in the Sociology of Law. That is, the importance of societal establishments ( both formal and informal ) and the influence and relationship they bring to bear on the legal establishments and developments within the legal field.


The Sociology of Law is a focussed and critical field in understanding legal mechanisms and legal pattern, every bit good as set uping the foundation of law. However, a definition and general model demand building so that the right inquiries can be formulated. The field transcends specific affairs and enriches larning both in the theoretical and practical sense by offering a more nuanced and enriched analysis. This sociological attack has enhanced inter-disciplinary acquisition in other Fieldss, but particularly on social-science positions. This continues in development and is a popular attack to specific issues that encompass socio-legal considerations.

Challenges In Application

The constitution of one clear and concise definition of the Sociology of Law has eluded bookmans and practicians to day of the month. This is because consensus on what the field consists of, in footings of definitions and restrictions is yet to be achieved. This in bend has an impact on the authorization of the Sociology of Law as a coherent subject and this has had negative deductions with respect to what the field can accomplish. Critically this besides has a negative impact on acquisition and development in the country, peculiarly in deriving an increased apprehension of how the legal field and sociology interact with each other.


Finally, it may be said that the Sociology of Law has had a long history of dedicated followings and practicians. It is a subject that seeks to exceed legal traditions and dispute what the limited apprehension of the interaction and inter-relationship between society and the jurisprudence, in all countries.

It is critical that farther acquisition and analysis is needed to try a formalization of definitions, values and restrictions of the subject in order that it may go on to dispute traditional readings of socio-legal issues.

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