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Chapter 1

LAWS 1000 Chapter Notes - Chapter 1: Social Control, Social Change, Statutory Law

Course Code
LAWS 1000
Ozsu Faik

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Law and Society – Chapter 1
Laws regulate everything/permeate social behaviour (sociology and law):
- Law reflects the intellectual, social, economic, and political climate of its time.
- Law can’t be separated from the goals, ideas, interests etc. that shape social/economic life
- Sociology and law both are concerned w the nature of legitimate authority, mechanisms
of social control, human rights issues, power arrangements, and formal contractual
- Problems in law system = judges, jurors, criminals etc. have emotions, failures of will
Sociology Jurisprudence:
The study of law and legal philosophy and the use of its ideas in law to regulate conduct
Legal Literacy:
Process of acquiring critical awareness about rights and law, the ability to assert rights, and the
capacity to mobilize for change.
Reasons legal thinking is different from scientific thinking:
1. Laws seem to be more inclined to particulars than general (a particular person’s case)
2. Law doesn’t try to establish connections between means and ends like the physical and
social sciences (ex: the impact the verdict has on the defendant’s future conduct)
3. A law is either valid or invalid, a law was broken or it wasn’t, etc. its non-realistic
4. Primarily past and present oriented
5. Legal consequence is still valid if it doesn’t happen – someone refusing their
consequence doesn’t render the law void
6. Legal decision has little room for compromise solution (you either win or lose the case)
In general, law is an authoritative and reactive problem-solving system geared to specific social
Conceptualizations of Law:
- “what is law” haunts legal thought
- Much thought has gone into trying to define it
- So many different definitions of law
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