WDW387 January 10 2012.docx

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19 Apr 2012
January 10 - Lecture 1 - Introduction to Morality and the Law
14:02 PM
Introductory Comments
-direct regulations and planning laws e.g. Muslim attaining special zoning positions in planning
board/law; provides opportunities for neighbourhood to complain, allows prejudice
-municipal rule of unrelated adults living in a house at once e.g. 5; need rooming house license; a family
can have any amount of children, so there is no overcrowding rule e.g. there is another purpose driving
the law the nuclear family is privileged example of indirect regulation
Principles of Socio-Legal Studies
1. law does not have fixed boundaries and cannot be grasped statistically; law as a discipline e.g.
economics involved, politicians attending law school etc.
-how do problems become legal? When does the law kick in? e.g. youth charged but not sentenced
-e.g. medical document turns legal under certain circumstances like inheritance
2. Sociolegal Studies includes study of informal law, customary law and private law
-e.g. university codes of conduct (private law), unwritten rules for conduct in crowded spaces (informal
law), rules governing dress
-private law applies to small institutions e.g. like gated community residence members, universities
Suggested Reading: Official Graffiti (Hermer and Hunt, Law and Society Review)
3. legal regulation is inherently pluralistic; many systems of rules overlap
-division of regulatory labour involves jurisdictional distinctions, and also other, less formalized, time
and space and situation distinctions
-example; intra-family governance uses distinct rules (re money, possessions, personal labour)
-university sexual harassment policies with conduct policies, day and night law are different in one space
-charging own kids rent is like breach of customary rules, family lending money without documentation
4. The constitutive power of law
-law is the result of social and cultural processes but is itself a social and cultural force
-e.g. legalization of same-sex marriage had social effects
-e.g. discovery of sexual harassment, 1980s
-law responding to social change; how law constitutes society and how society constitutes law
-effects of legal policies on society and how others interact, are treated, effecting relations e.g. treating
lesbians different after allowing same-sex marriage
-e.g. prostitution being legal as undermining women
-recognize legal categories more in society when they are criminalized e.g. when sexual harassment law
was created, would be visible everywhere
5. Indirect vs. direct regulation
-social control not an adequate term to understand legal regulation of morality
-direct control of persons by law for moral reasons has become unusual; rise of rights claims, decline of
status offences
-indirect control ubiquitous (activities and spaces)
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