Free «Sociology and the Law» Essay Sample

Sociology and the Law


In their books, Mathieu Deflem, Emile Durkheim, and Max Weber discuss a common concept of the sociological roots of the law. While Weber presents early attempts to investigate the interconnectedness of law and societal dynamic, Durkheim explores how views and attitudes adopted by society influence the lawmaking process. Deflem corroborated aforementioned arguments and claimed that the law is a sociological phenomenon that can be studied through the framework of sociological science.

Sociology and the law: connections and the emergence of sociology of law   

In the chapters 3, 4, and 11 of his book Law in Economy and Society, Max Weber discusses differences between different fields of law and their distinctive features. Weber identified public and private law, reglementation and right-granting law, administration and government law, private and criminal law. Also, the author explores social roots of the lawmaking procedures. In a logically sound manner, Weber argued that differentiation between different kinds of law is based on different categories of legal thought, legal techniques and political organization. Throughout chapters, it seems that the author draws the reader’s attention to the increasingly sophisticated features of the modern law and to the fact that the laws become increasingly complex for an average person to understand as a result of “continuous growth of technical element in the law” (Weber 321). Overall impression from the reading is that Weber’s work exerts an effort to connect laws and people affected by them.

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In the chapters 2 of The Division of Labor in Society, Emile Durkheim argues in favor of the existence of universal similarity in how society views crimes as harmful for societal order ad institutes punishments to enforce social order and prevent crimes from happening (37, 38). The author argues that law-making is a socially constructed phenomenon. Durkheim explores the historical origins of dynamics behind recognizing particular act as a criminal offense. Also, the author investigates the roots and causes of unity in collective consciousness (solidarity).  He comes to an interesting conclusion that a criminal act is the one that “offends the strong well-defined states of collective consciousness” (Durkheim 39). The third chapter is interesting in that it argues that collective consciousness is more powerful than moral rules, and that society that is legally active can exercise its right to establish laws and articulate offences and subsequent punishments. The author supports his conclusions with convincingly supportive reflections about valid societal dynamics in regard to law-making process. Careful reading of the text provides an interesting insight in the processes that take place as society uses common interests (solidarity) of its members to determine what the criminal offence is.

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In the second chapter of his book Sociology of Law, Mathieu Deflem presents his views about the development of sociology of law. The author argues that the fact that sociological science embraced a more organized approach to studying the lawis a progressive move within the field of sociological science (76). Deflem claims that the law is a “social issue that must be sociologically explored” (78) and confirms the emergence of sociology of law as a new field within sociological science. Chapter 3 is dedicated to investigating the sociological dimensions of law such as the impact of laws on economy, politics, culture, and emergence of new social trends. Notably, the author’s perspective is interesting and progressive in that it expands the scope and increases applicability of sociological science to different spheres of society. Therefore, the argument can be made that the increased applicability of sociology will make it more relevant field of studies and result in new research and greater demand for new sociological finding.

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Analysis of the writings by Max Weber, Mathieu Deflem, and Emile Durkheim shows that the law is a socially constructed phenomenon. Since the law and societal dynamic are interconnected the society influences the lawmaking process and the law can be studied through the framework of sociological science.

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