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Sociology 2260A/B WEEK3.docx

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Western University
Sociology 2260A/B
Daphne Heywood

WEEK 3 Wednesday, January 23, 13 2260- Sociology of Law Donald Black’s ‘The Behaviour of Law’ (1) “Laws are like cobwebs, which may catch small flies, but let wasps and hornets break through”  the way laws are designed/described; people come into contact with these laws based on their social status (ie: people with more power can “break through”) Pure Sociology & Donald Black Law is a measurable phenomenon The Measure of Law applies to social distance or space - the law weighs more heavily when it comes to the powerless Law: Donald Black’s Definition “Governmental Social Control”  Law is a mechanism for social control that the state must use The Behaviour of law from the perspective of “Pure Sociology” Characteristics of “Pure Sociology”: 1. The application of scientific method in theorizing 2. Theorizing located in social space in the absence of individuals 3. Explains behavior according to its location and direction in social space without regard to value implications 4. No moral or practical goals, no political agenda The Behaviour of Law (1976) Law meets or is meted out to the individual in different quantities depending on where the individual is located in the social spaces Other Dimensions:  Horizontal (Morphology) from Durkheim and Simmel  Corporate (Organization) from Weber  Cultural (Symbolic) from Parsons and Sorokin  Normative (Social Control) from Ross and Sumner What is Stratification?  Social stratification refers to a system by which a society ranks categories of people in a hierarchy, or into socioeconomic layers or strata. Therefore, stratification refers to any system of ranking used in society WEEK 3 Wednesday, January 23, 13  Stratification is the vertical aspect of social life. However, stratification itself has several variables. It is the degree of inequality in a social setting…  Stratification explains the quantity of law as well as its style. For example, it is generally acknowledged that wealthier people have an advantage with law.  Thus the more stratification a society has, the more law it has. There is less law where people are more equal “Law is greater at high levels of wealth, power and prestige than at lower levels” - They have the resources to access it  The law is more likely to weigh more heavily on downward statuses. Those at the bottom of the status hierarchy are more likely to be affected by law………  Black’s theory helps to explain why there is a greater likelihood of poor people receiving punishment when they commit crimes, than wealthy people  Blacks theory helps to explain why there is a greater likelihood of poor people receiving punishment when they commit crimes, than wealthy people  But it also explains why wealthy people are more likely to have their grievances and disputes argued by the courts than poor people  Law increases with the stratification of the relationship between those involved as well. For example, if a poor man commits a crime against another poor man he receives less punishment than is a poor man commits a crime against a wealthy man As Horwitz Puts it: “Why, for example, are poor, homeless people the more likely to be arrested, plead guilty and enter jails and prisons? The answer does not lie in their behavior, but in the marginal, disreputable, and resource-less social locations they occupy” Chappell and Maggard use Black’s Version of Stratification  Wealth is an advantage for an offender Law is more likely to be used against those of lower status, such as the poor and the young. Their crimes are considered to be more serious, and they are punished more severely They Quote Black… In some legal settings, in facts, a wealthier offender may directly by an advantage for
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