First Midterm-Key Concepts.pdf

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Western University
Sociology 2260A/B
Mc Gregor- Universityof Western Ontario

Sociology  of  Law:  Key  Terms  and  Concepts     Lecture  One  September  9,  2013   Rule  of  Law   • Implies  that  government  authority  may  only  be  exercised  in  accordance  with   written  laws,  which  were  adopted  through  an  established  procedure   • Intended  to  be  a  safeguard  against  arbitrary  rulings  in  individual  cases   • Also  implies  that  the  law  must  be  applied  equally  and  evenly  to  everyone,  including   the  lawmakers  themselves   Functions  of  Law   • The  repressive  function  is  the  aspect  of  law  that  uses  coercion  to  govern  conduct   o It  sets  down  rules  for  what  people  may  or  must  do  or  not  do,  and  provides   penalties  for  non-­‐compliance   • The  facilitative  function  is  the  aspect  of  law  that  keeps  society  running  smoothly   o In  this  mode  law  dictates  the  way  social  institutions  are  structured,  provides   rules  for  how  they  are  going  to  operate,  and  referees  when  disagreements   arise   o Includes  three  main  branches  correspondi ng  to  these  sub-­‐functions:    Organization:  determining  how  society  and  the  institutions  within   society  are  structured,  and  how  the  “pieces”  interrelate    Regulation:  defining  and  enforcing  the  rights  and  obligations  that   citizens,  organizations,  and  institutio ns  have  towards  one  another    Arbitration:  dispute  resolution   • The  ideological  function  is  the  aspect  of  law  that  promotes  and  supports  the   dominant  ideology  of  society,  either  directly  by  punishing  deviation  or  indirectly  by   “naturalizing”  preferred  norms  an d  values   Jurisprudence   • Also  known  as  the  philosophy  of  law   • It  involves  analyzing  and  evaluating  law  as  an  abstract  set  of  rules,  principles  and   conventions   Sociology  of  Law   • Looks  at  law  via  particular  current  or  historical  manifestations   • Its  main  project  is  examining  reciprocal  impact-­‐-­‐the  way  society  shapes  law  in  given   times  and  places  and  the  way  law  is  concerned  with  the  relationship  between  law   and  society,  not  with  law  in  itself   Ideology   • Dictionary  definition:   a  system  of  ideas  concerning  phenomena,  e specially  those  of   social  life;  the  manner  of  thinking  characteristic  of  a  class  or  individual   • Critical  usage:  a  system  of  ideas  which  supports  the  interests  of  the  ruling  class  by:   o Naturalizing  the  status  quo,  including  power  imbalances   o Constructing  a  normative  system  of  social  identities  and  relations   o Protecting  the  rights  of  leadership  on  the  basis  of  merit  and/or  necessity   o Sending  messages  about  how  well  off  the  proletariat  is   o Displacing  blame  for  social  problems  onto  the  individual   o Encouraging  consumerism   o Producing  “false  consciousness”  this  making  people  co -­‐operate  in  their  own   repression   • Subsets  or  aspects  of  capitalist  ideology   o Liberal  ideology   o Patriarchal  ideology   o Consumerist  ideology   Hegemony   • Dictionary  definition:  leadership,  predominance   of  one  state  in  a  confederacy   • Critical  usage:  the  shifting  constellation  of  forces  and  interests  that  hold  power  in  a   given  society     Lecture  Two  September  16,  2013   Natural  Law  Theory   • In  this  view  there  is  no  distinction  between  religious  rules  and  legal  o nes   • Right  and  wrong  are  indubitable  concomitants  of  the  natural  order   Positivism   • Law  is  simply  the  agreed  upon  code  of  conduct  adopted  by  a  given  community   • It  has  no  necessary  connection  with  morality   • Since  the  ultimate  purpose  is  social  stability,  the   content  is  less  important  than   enforcement  and  adherence   • Any  law  is  as  legitimate  as  any  other  law  as  long  as  it  is  produced  by  a  legitimate   process  and/or  authority   Legal  formalism   • Similar  to  positivism  in  insisting  on  a  disconnect  between  law  and   morality   • For  formalists,  law  is  apolitical,  ahistorical,  self -­‐validating,  and  internally  coherent   • Judges  do  not  exercise  independent  judgment;  they  apply  the  rules  as  found   • Interpretation  is  based  on  the  literal  meaning  of  the  language  of  the  law,  without   regard  to  intent  or  impact   Legal  realism   • A  reformist  movement  originating  in  the  1920s  which  challenged  the  claim  that   judges’  decisions  were  based  on  the  objective,  uniform  application  of  standardized   rules,  or  that  correct  answers  could  be  obtained  throu gh  the  application  of  formal   legal  doctrine  and  logic   Marxist  theory   • For  Marxists,  law  is  a  construct  devised  by  the  dominant  elites  in  a  society  to   promote  and  protect  their  own  economic  and  social  interests   Critical  law  studies  (CLS)   • Another  reformist  mo vement  which  became  active  in  American  law  schools  in  the   late  seventies   • Borrowing  ideas  and  principles  from  critical  theory,  CLS  advocates  rejected  the  ides   that  law  could  or  should  be  “neutral”  in  the  face  of  injustice  and  inequity   • They  were  particularly  critical  of  the  sterility  and  insularity  of  judicial  decision   making,  and  of  the  hierarchical  and  authoritarian  stance  of  legal  education  and  the   legal  profession   • Feminist  legal  theory  has  historically  strong  ties  with  CLS   Postmodernism   • A  general  intellectual  approach  drawing  on  a  diverse  range  of  theories,  including   (particularly)  European  post-­‐structuralism   • With  respect  to  law,  its  main  feature  is  a  diffuse  anti -­‐authoritarianism  that   challenges  both  civil  power  structures  and  intellectual  ones   Liberal-­Pluralism   • This  is  the  approach  most  characteristic  of  mainstream  legal  education  in  Canada   • It  is  mildly  reformist  but  politically  centrist   • Liberal  pluralists  emphasize  the  rule  of  law  and  individual  rights   Central  Tenets  of  Legal  Formalism     (also  called  conventionalism)   • The  law  is  apolitical   • The  law  is  autonomous   • The  law  is  ahistorical   o In  other  words,  law  is  and  should  operate  entirely  independently  of  its  social   roots  and  effects   • Determinate  answers  exist  for  all  legal  questions   o In  other  words,  for  every  situation  a  precedent  exists  somewhere  in  the   annals  of  law  which  can  be  applied  to  produce  “correct”  results   • The  proper  object  of  legal  study  is  the  legal  rules  generated  by  courts   o Sources,  impacts  and  ramifications  are  of  no  interest  or  importance   whatsoever   • Proper  legal  technique  centers  on  the  mastery  of  common  law  categories  and  the   techniques  of  conventional  legal  training,  particularly:   o Textual  exegesis;   o Case-­‐by-­‐case  analysis;  and   o Classification  (i.e.  of  cases,  issues,  principles,  rules,  and  so  on)   Major  Themes  of  American  Legal  Realism   Prediction   • The  realists  agreed  with  the  positivists  that  consistency  and  predictability  were   essential  for  a  legal  system  to  work,  but  disagreed  that  “rules”  were  enough  to   provide  such  predictability     • To  properly  estimate  the  chances  of  success  for  a  lawsuit,  they  said,  it  was  necessary   to  understand  more  about  the  psychology  of  judging  and  the  social  and  political   context  of  law   The  centrality  of  the  role  of  the  judge   • The  more  extreme  realists  went  so  far  as  to  say   that  all  law  was  judge-­‐made  law   • According  to  one  commentator,  statutes  are  not  laws  by  virtue  of  their  enactment;   they  become  law  when  applied  by  a  decision  of  the  courts   Skepticism  over  rules   • For  some  realists  the  biggest  problem  was  the  fact  that  general  rules  cant  possibly   do  justice  to  the  diversity  of  possible  disputes  to  which  they  theoretically  pertain   • Judges  don’t  apply  such  rules  as  invariably  as  they  pretend,  and  if  they  did,  the   results  would  almost  certainly  be  unjust   Fact  skepticism   • Other  realists  put  more  weight  on  the  fact  that  it  is  impossible  to  predict  what   evidence  is  going  to  emerge  in  the  course  of  a  trial  or  how  this  evidence  will  be   interpreted  by  the  court   The  illusive  factors   • Refers  to  the  variety  of  prejudices  to  which  a  judge  or  ju ror  may,  knowingly  or   unknowingly,  be  subject   • As  Jerome  Frank  (an  eminent  legal  realist)  wrote:   “Those  prejudices,  when  they  are   racial,  religious,  political,  or  economic  may  sometimes  be  surmised  by  others.  But   there  are  some  hidden,  unconscious  biases  .. .  –  such  as,  for  example,  plus  or  minus   reactions  to  women,  or  unmarried  women,  or  red -­‐  haired  women  ...  or  men  who   wear  thick  eyeglasses  ...   –  of  which  no-­‐one  can  be  aware.”   Look  at  the  whole  process   • The  legal  realists  insisted  that  it  was  important  to  ex amine  legal  processes  as  a   totality,  from  the  work  of  administrators  to  the  practices  and  procedures  of  the   courts   Borrowing  from  social  science   • Some  of  the  school  borrowed  the  perspective  and  adopted  the  techniques  of   contemporary  social  scientists   • Jurimetrics  was  a  word  coined  to  denote  the  study  of  legal  processes  through   scientific  means,  particularly  statistics   Shaking  the  dust  off   • The  attitude  of  questioning  that  pervaded  the  movement  led  to  the  re -­‐examination   not  only  of  the  processes  of  the  law  but   also  old  established  ideas  about  where  law   derives  its  legitimacy  and  how  it  did  or  should  work   Self-­examination   • As  Riddell  puts  it,  “  a  final  strand  in  or,  at  any  rate,  characteristic  of,  American   realism  was  the  emphasis  placed  by  writers  of  the  school  o n  the  importance  of  the   movement  itself.  The  members  of  no  school  of  jurisprudence  have  devoted  so  much   space  to  self-­‐examination  and  congratulation.”   Consensus  Theory   •   Conflict  Theory   •     Durkheim’s  Terms   • Social  facts   • Collective  consciousness   • Sentiments  of  solidarity   • Mechanical  solidarity   • Organic  solidarity   • Repressive  law     The  Basic  Tenets  of  Functionalism   • Societies  must  be  analyzed  “holistically  as  systems  of  interrelated  parts”   • Cause  and  effect  relations  are  “multiple  and  reciprocal”   • Social  systems  are  in  a  state  of  “dynamic  equilibrium,”  such  that  adjustment  to   forces  affecting  the  system  is  accomplished  with  minimal  change  within  the  system   • Perfect  integration  is  never  attained,  so  that  every  social  system  has  strains  and   deviations,  but  the  latter  tend  t o  be  neutralized  through  institutionalization   • Change  is  fundamentally  a  slow  adaptive  process,  rather  than  a  revolutionary  shift   • Change  is  the  consequence  of  the  adjustment  to  changes  outside  the  system,  growth   by  differentiation,  and/or  internal  innovatio ns   • The  system  is  integrated  through  shared  values                           Parsons’  Social  Functions,  and  the  Systems  that  Serve  Them   Functions:   Adaptation   Goal  Attainment   Pattern   Integration   Means  of   Means  of   Maintenance   Means  of   adapting  to   mobilizing   Means  of   achieving   environment  or   resources  to   coordinating  &   internal   vice  versa   achieve  goals  &   reproducing   coherence   gratification   knowledge  and   attitudes   Served   Economy,  plus   Polity   Agents  of   Regulatory   Primarily   Science  &   Decision-­‐making,   Socialization   system   by:   Technology   leadership,   The  family,  the   Rules,   System  for   distribution  of   education   conventions,   producing  &   power   system,  culture,   especially  law   distributing   religion   goods  and     services     Bredemeier’s  Elaboration  of  Parsons’  Scheme     Adaptive  System   Goal  Pursuance   Pattern   System   Maintenance   System   What  law  takes   Scientific  and  social   Government  policy   Gives  legitimacy  to   from  the  other   scientific  evidence,  plus   establishes  goals   law  and  courts;   systems   the  expertise  to  help   against  which  courts   inculcates  shared   interpret  it   can  determine   understandings  of   “purpose”  of   rights,  duties,  values   legislation   What  law  gives   Legal  definitions,   Provides  means  to   Reinforces  dominant   to  the  other   regulations,  etc,   translate  abstract   ideology   systems   establish  the  playing   principles  into   field  for  economic   concrete  rules  and   relations  and  scientific   institutions;  also   or  technological   provides   development   enforcement  and   oversight       Lecture  Three  September  23,  2013   Marx’s  Model  of  Industrial  Society   Basic  Tenets:   • Human  consciousness  is  a  product  of  material  interactions,  in  particular  the  struggle   to  convert  natural  resources  into  usable  goods  via  labour   • As  the  systemization  of  this  collective  effort,  the  economy  is  the  main  factor  in   determining  how  society  w orks   • Social  change  comes  about  through  conflict     Dynamics:   • Base  shapes  superstructure;  relations  of  production  shape  social  relations  (later   theorists  make  this  reciprocal)   Predicted  and  actual  timeline:   • Under  capitalism  the  characterizing  relations  of   production/class  relations  are   hierarchical,  authoritarian,  and  exploitative -­‐leads  to  resentment  and  conflict   • Marx  predicted  that  this  conflict  would  sooner  or  later  trigger  revolution,  the   workers  would  take  over  the  forces  of  production,  and  the  state  wo uld  wither  away   • In  reality,  capitalism  defused  the  situation  by  converting  workers  into  consumers   • The  main  tool  for  this  transformation  was  ideology,  as  embodied  particularly  in   cultural  productions,  in  commercial  communication,  and  in  privileged  discourse s   like  politics  and  law   Themes  in  Critical/Marxist  Law  Studies   • Law  is  inescapably  political  or  law  is  one  form  of  politics   • Law  and  state  are  closely  connected,  though  law  exhibits  a  relative  practical   autonomy  from  the  state   • Law  gives  effect  to,  mirrors,  o r  is  otherwise  expressive  of  the  prevailing  economic   relations;  the  legal  form  both  replicates  and  facilitates  the  forms  of  economic   relations   • Law  is  always  potentially  coercive  or  repressive;  it  exercises/controls  the  state’s   monopoly  on  the  means  of  coer cion   • The  content  and  procedures  of  law  serve  and  reflect,  directly  or  indirectly,  the   interests  of  the  dominant  class  (es)  or  power  bloc  (alternatively,  hegemony)   • Law  is  ideological;  it  both  exemplifies  and  provides  legitimation  for  the  embedded   values  of  the  dominant  class  (es)   Feminism  and  the  Law  in  Canada   Liberal  Feminists   • There  are  no  essential  differences  between  males  and  females -­‐-­‐  all  are  free,  rational,   potentially  self-­‐responsive  individuals   • Social  and  economic  inequality  is  an  accident  of  history  which  can  be  repaired  by   removing  barriers,  equalizing  opportunities,  and  leveling  the  playing  field   • With  respect  to  law,  the  main  task  is  identifying  and  removing  “systemic”  (i.e.   structural  or  incidental  rather  than  intentional)  discriminatory  elements-­‐-­‐make   laws  “gender  neutral”  so  everyone  is  treated  the  same   • Two  major  projects  of  liberal  feminists  were  eliminating  sexism  in  law  schools  and   the  legal  profession;  and  promoting  “gender  analysis”  of  legislation   Radical  feminists   • Males  and  females  are   inherently  different,  and  female  traits  (nurturing,  co -­‐ operation,  sensitivity,  etc)  are  preferable  to  male  ones  (aggression,  competitiveness)   • Patriarchy  is  a  deliberate,  conscious  attempt  to  perpetuate  female  subordination   • Because  the  apparatus  of  the  stat e,  including  law,  is  dominated  by  men,  there  is  no   point  in  trying  to  work  within  the  system -­‐-­‐it  is  better  to  reduce  dependency  on  it   • Important  radical  feminist  initiatives  included  consciousness  raising,  developing   separate  services  and  resources  for  wome n  (rape  crisis  centers,  battered  women’s   shelters,  etc),  lesbianism  as  a  political  choice   Critical  (or  integrative)  feminists   • School  took  shape  after  liberal  and  Marxist  feminists  became  disillusioned  when   their  approaches  failed  to  bring  about  any  real  ch ange   • Took  a  generally  “critical”  approach  to  the  law,  but  put  theory -­‐-­‐and  theoretical   differences-­‐-­‐on  the  back  burner  in  order  to  achieve  common  political  goals   • Main  project  was  pursuing  substantive  equality -­‐-­‐that  is,  equality  of  result,  not  just   equality  of  opportunity-­‐-­‐for  women  and  other  disadvantaged  subgroups   • Emphasized  the  role  of  economic  factors  in  constructing  social  and  political   disadvantage   • Major  triumph  was  the  founding  of  the  women’s  legal  education  and  action  fund   (LEAF),  which  significantly  influences  the  supreme  court’s  interpretation  of  section   15  (equality  rights)  of  the  charter  by  participating  as  interveners  in  key  cases     Lecture  Four  September  30,  2013   Some  important  binaries   Informal  law   • Generally  agreed-­‐upon  rules  of  conduct  based  on  shared  norms,  mores,  values,  and   attitudes,  backed  up  by  informal  positive  and  negative  sanctions,  like  praise  or  social   opprobrium     Formal  law   • Written  law,  including  court  decisions  (case  law),  statutes,  codes  and  regulations.   Formal  law  is  generally  ass umed  to  have  developed  out  of  informal  law.  Although   the  two  categories  are  now  discrete  and  even,  in  some  instances,  divergent,  formal   law  works  best  if  it  is  at  least  consistent  with  prevailing  informal  law  (positive  law)   Common  law   • The  common  law  system  is  the  legal  system  that  Canada  inherited  from  Britain.  It   prevails  federally  and  in  ten  of  the  eleven  provinces.  It  is  based  on  decisions  made   by  judges  in  individual  disputes,  which  cumulatively  constitute  what  is  known  as   “case  law”.  Among  its  main  fea tures  are:   o Continuity:  rules  derived  from  previous  decisions  are  binding  in  future   similar  cases  (stare  decisis)   o Evolved  incrementally  over  time   o Incomplete  codification   Civil  law   • The  civil  law  system  is  the  legal  system  of  France.  It  is  in  use  only  in   Quebec,  in   matters  under  provincial  jurisdiction.  Unlike  the  common  law  system,  there  are  no   binding  precedents.  Rather,  each  case  is  decided  in  reference  to  a  set  of  general   principles,  or  a  “code”     Common  law   • The  body  of  judge-­‐made  law  developed  in  a  com mon  law  jurisdiction   Statutory  law   • Law  created  by  legislative  bodes  or  their  designated  agents,  such  as  statutes,  acts,  or   codes.  Technically  statutory  law  prevails  over  common  law  in  the  case  of  conflicts,   but  judges  interpret  what  statutes  mean,  and  gene rally  construe  them  in  a  manner   as  consistent  with  common  law  as  possible   Private  law   • The  branches  of  law  governing  disputes  where  both  parties  are  private  citizen,  like   tort  law  or  contract  law   Public  law   • The  branches  of  law  governing  disputes  where  one  o f  the  parties  is  the  sate,  like   criminal  law,  where  the  crown  prosecutes,  or  administrative  law,  where  an   individual  lays  a  complaint  against  a  government  agency   Stare  Decisis  “to  stand  by  the  decided  case”   Advantages   • Provides  continuity,  ensuring  consiste ncy  and  predictability  of  results,  thus  cutting   down  on  frivolous  litigation   • Reduces  possibilities  for  subjective  bias   • Allows  evolution  in  response  to  changing  social  c
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