Lecture #2

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Published on 28 Sep 2011
School
UTM
Department
Sociology
Course
SOC323H5
Professor
Page:
of 2
May 12th 2011
Lecture #2
What is law? What is the law?
Lawyers concerned with
- What is the law on a particular issue
- Varies from jurisdiction to jurisdiction
- is modified, interpreted and applied
Philosophers concerned with
-general question: what is law?
- assumes that law posses certain features by its very essence
- general jurisprudence is universal
Law as normative social practice
- it purports to guide human behavior
- provides the rational for actions
Law is not the only normative domain
-morality – beliefs and understandings
- religion – abortion (some don’t, some do)
- social conceptions (don’t break into houses, give money at weddings)
- etiquette – manners
Understand the nature of law
- explanation of how law is different from these similar normative domain
- how it intersects with them
- Whether its’ intelligibility depends on such other normative orders
- praxis of law
Legal perspective vs. sociological perspective
- this is how the law is studied in law schools
- from sociological perspective is what we are going to utilize in this course, law will be explored
as an element of social control
- this means we will be looking at a type of order that law provides
- we hope to both understand, the function of law in society and the nature of that function
Strange, Carolyn and Tina Loo. 1996. “Spectacular Justice: The Circus on Trial and the Trial as Circus,
Picton, 1903”. Canadian Historical Review 77(2): 159-184.
Trial as a circus
-costumes
-masses at the door
- props
- risks and death
- the show
The town
- pop. Pf 3698 in 1901: 3161 listed as English, Irish and Scottish
- the largest non-Anglo ethnic group were the Germans, 225
- 6 Black, 4 Chinese
- Passed by the railroad and industrialization
- tourism
- racial homogeneity (the ‘Other’)
- controlled spectacle of the other affirmed social cohesion
Gazing at the ‘Other’
-Difference treated as entertainment
- decontextualization and the recontextualization
- the circus wages between $2-$3/ week depending on the race
*present rule of law ‘equal’ – didn’t care because blacks, really affirmed town’s rep by not
convicting the guy because not assuming he’s guilty.
Loo, Tina. 1992. “Don Cranmer’s Potlatch: Law as Coercion, Symbol, and Rhetoric in British
Columbia, 1884–1951.” Canadian Historical Review 73(2): 125-165.
Potlach controversy
- The problem law in what potlatch signified to the White society
- On the one hand there was accumulation “worked for money”
- On the other hand the disposal of goods challenged the material order of “white” society –
threatened capitalism.
Potlatch as site of struggle
- law must be seen to be effective
- Christmas compassion
- legal jargon and co-optation
- law proved difficult to enforce
- the power of law lies in its ability to define issues, set the terms of the debate and resolution and
provide the measures for assessing the fairness of the outcome.
- resistance within the law: Easter potlatch, festival, 6 months delay.
Praxis
- the potlatch provision of the Indian Act was the law is action
- Enforcement history can show us the nature of its powers
- It’s the treatment by the courts can show the…
**Rule of law
- E. P. Thompson – rule of law as “unqualified human good”
- people do not have to believe the law to obey it
Trial courts as court of law, not as courts of justice
- The theatre/circus/spectacle and ritualistic features of law mask the interested upheld by the law
-Law shapes the kinds of questions asked and thus shapes the discourse
- According to the law the difference between sex and rape = CONSENT!
Law and truth
- truth is seen as the outcome of the legal process
- truth is subjective and constructed
- truth finding rather than truth making (trials)
- truth and law are ultimately connected and interconnected with power
Foucault
- There can be no possible exercise of power without a certain economy of discourses, which
operates through and on the basis of this association
- We are subjected to the production of truth through power; we cannot exercise power except
through the production of truth.
- When we use the law, we automatically adopt its language, its implicit standards for
ascertaining right and wrong and ultimately for determining the truth.

Document Summary

What is the law on a particular issue. Assumes that law posses certain features by its very essence. Religion abortion (some don"t, some do) Social conceptions (don"t break into houses, give money at weddings) Explanation of how law is different from these similar normative domain. Whether its" intelligibility depends on such other normative orders. This is how the law is studied in law schools. From sociological perspective is what we are going to utilize in this course, law will be explored as an element of social control. This means we will be looking at a type of order that law provides. We hope to both understand, the function of law in society and the nature of that function. Spectacular justice: the circus on trial and the trial as circus, Pf 3698 in 1901: 3161 listed as english, irish and scottish. The largest non-anglo ethnic group were the germans, 225. Controlled spectacle of the other affirmed social cohesion.