Lecture 1- September 13, 2012
What is law and society?
Examining law in the broader social context
Implications of law
How is law experienced by people? How is that experience shifted or manifested in different ways depending on
Where is the law?
Law is everywhere- governs all things we do; what we think is right vs. wrong
Shapes our worldview-Impacts ways in which we understand our experiences
What is the sociology of law?
Law as a set of social practices **law is a social process**
interaction of law, legal institutions, legal behaviour
Development of legal institutions, social control, regulation of behaviour, social construction (laws
made/interpreted by humans), and social change
Social context – law changes over time; affected by factors such as political and economic as well
What is the role of law in society?
How do legal processes both influence and are shaped by social, political and economic relations?
What are the links between culture of rights and regulation of morality?
How do different theoretical frameworks …
What is a sociological approach to study of law?
Complex social process
Historically, culturally, contextually and socially specific
o Historically specific:
Example: prohibition; poster of mother wanting to keep her son “pure” by voting against sale of
liquors (1920s); society thought alcohol consumption was the root of social problems (poverty,
Example: reefer madness- message that smoking marijuana will make you crazy
Conflicting messages about status of marijuana in Canada (i.e. TNC in Queen’s Park)
Example: Abortion- Supreme Court removed abortion from charter in 1988
Example: Gay marriages; interracial marriages illegal in the past (to keep races pure)
2005- Canada became fourth country in the world to legalize same sex marriage
o Culturally specific:
Competing interpretations of law
Diverse interpretations and definitions of legal behaviour