Sociology 2260A/B Lecture Notes - Lecture 2: O. J. Simpson Murder Case, Individual And Group Rights, Moral Authority

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Published on 30 Apr 2013
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Week 2- Sociology of Law 2260 Wednesday, January 16, 13
Legal Positivism to Sociological Jurisprudence to Sociology of Law
Legal Positivism: science of law; unquestionable; no bias
-Legal Positivists will argue a law should be obeyed just or not
-Situations in history where people justly broke the law?
- Mass social change has come about because people have come together and broke the
law ex. Nelson Mandela
-Without legal positivism we would have chaos and anarchy
Positivism:
Two types of Positivism:
Sociological Positivism: Auguste Comte
1st Theological or belief in supernatural causes Ex. Causes of criminal acts that were
caused by the devil
2nd- Ex. Hamlet: “nothing even good or bad but thinking makes it so”
3rd-
Legal Positivism:
Needs to be kept separate from Moral judgments
Proponents of this perspective...
…Include:
Thomas Hobbes (Social Contract)
Jeremy Bentham (Panopticon/ Henonism/ deterrence)
Herbert Hart
Thomas Hobbes
.. classical theory perspective.. belived human beings to be slfish, but rational, free-willed but
in search of pleasure with the minimum of pain
.. without boundaries people are naturally inclined to peruse pleasure regardless of
consequences to others (Pavlich, p.43)
ex. At bar on Richmond… more inclined to have fun and do whatever.. but know there
will be consequences in the end if you take it too far
Command Theory: .. Defines law as no more than a legitimate command from a sovereign that
is obeyed by subjects
ex. When the king tell you to do something.. you do it .. “cut off his head”
Jeremy Bentham
Classical theorist believed that Hobbes was wrong in assuming that rationality alone would
act as deterrence to breaking laws
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Week 2- Sociology of Law 2260 Wednesday, January 16, 13
Panopticon: a type of institutional building designed by Bentham in the late 18th Century
Herbert Hart:
Laws are legitimate social rules, they set a standard to be followed by a group as a whole
Rules of Law and Rules of Morality
- Primary rules: ex. Murder, rape etc
- Secondary Rules:
Hans Kelson
Pure Theory of Law: … that part of knowledge which deals with the law as its object of study..
The proper science of law
Laws are particular types of norms that involve legitimate sanctions-commands as opposed to
desirable choices!
Ex. Adultury is a punishable rule of law in some places, but in Western society its more of a
moral rule, but not punishable by law
War Measures Act, 1914
Under this act, enemy alience has to be registered with the government and carry ID cards at
all times. They were also not allowed to:
- possess firearms
-publish or read anything in a language other than English or friench
-leave the country without exit permits
-etc
Canada’s Crimes Against Humanity and War Crimes Act
(see link)
Canada’s Anti-Terrorism Laws:
To Prevent terrorism….
Law as State Commands… Legitimate not?
Pope Benedict has often expressed remorse for his membership in the Hitler Youth League.-
Something he was forced by law to do!
-He could not take a moral stand as a young boy
Faces of Genocide- photos from the Rwanda Genocide
Rwanda 1994:
-All the governments including the USA, who signed onto the Genocide act, did
nothing about it
-Many Rwandans said that they killed because authorities told tem to kill
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