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Soci 4322 Law and Society chapters 1-3 notes & class notes

by: Cassie Sobers

Soci 4322 Law and Society chapters 1-3 notes & class notes Soci 4322

Marketplace > East Carolina University > Sociology > Soci 4322 > Soci 4322 Law and Society chapters 1 3 notes class notes
Cassie Sobers

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About this Document

These notes cover the material up until our first quiz (halfway point to the first test). These are notes from the textbook Law and Society as well as notes from class that didn't overlap in the te...
Law and Society
Dr. Maril
sociology, Law
75 ?




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This 7 page Bundle was uploaded by Cassie Sobers on Sunday September 11, 2016. The Bundle belongs to Soci 4322 at East Carolina University taught by Dr. Maril in Fall 2016. Since its upload, it has received 5 views. For similar materials see Law and Society in Sociology at East Carolina University.


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Date Created: 09/11/16
SOCI:4322 Law & Society – Dr. Maril – Chapters 1-3 Notes & Class Notes Class notes not in text: 3 branches of U.S. government at the federal level: 1. Judicial – interpret the laws 2. Executive – president 3. Congress – passes laws State branches of U.S. government: 1. Executive 2. Legislative 3. Judicial The founding fathers of the United States wanted a weak central government after being under Britain’s legal system, and they wanted no one person to have total control Capitalism: trade is controlled by private owners for profit - People with money have the power - The right to private ownership 6 types of capitalism: 1. Turbo Capitalism 2. Popular Capitalism 3. Responsible Capitalism 4. Crony Capitalism 5. State Capitalism 6. Advanced Capitalism Textbook Notes: The social science perspective of law views laws as being deeply embedded into society, while the traditional perspective of law views law as a self-contained system of logic - As a whole, law influences and reflects society The field of law and society is based off of the 4 assumptions: 1. The legal system is not autonomous 2. Laws may have an impact on one or more aspects of society 3. Changes in society can effect changes in the law 4. Laws reflect the society 4 dimensions of law & society: 1. Substance of law – the actual laws which guide behavior 2. Legal procedures 3. The organization of the legal system 4. Legal culture – the beliefs/values people hold about the legal system Functions of law: 1. Social control – law is also a social institution that helps to maintain social order 2. Dispute settlement/conflict resolution 3. The creation of social change 4. Preservation of civil rights, civil liberties, and individual freedom 5. Expression of society’s moral values on social and political issues Dysfunctions of law: 1. May create and perpetuate inequality 2. Might reflect the moral values of influential social groups rather than the society as a whole a. Law doesn’t express the values of groups that don’t have power/influence 3. Law can complicate things and do more harm than good Law can be official (governmental) or unofficial (nongovernmental) From the perspective of the social science perspective of law Rules of law vs. rules of customs…these are the characteristics of laws: 1. The pressure to comply with the rule is external to the individual 2. This pressure to comply involves coercion and force 3. The party applying the force is socially authorized to do so Why people follow laws: 1. Physical force/coercion 2. Certain illegal actions are believed to be morally wrong 3. The obligation to obey laws 4. Concern of peer pressure Social Science Law The fear that illegal behaviors may harm us 6. Habit PerPerspective Positivist definitions of law describe what the law is, but now aht it should be Legality – the essence of law; nobody, regardless of power, is above the law - Legality is the cornerstone of democracy Fuller believed that for rules to constitute as laws they must adhere to the “inner morality” of law Fuller’s criteria for the inner morality of law: 1. Rules must be general 2. Rules must be known 3. Rules must be retroactive 4. Rules must be reasonably clear 5. Rules must not be contradictory 6. Rules must not require the impossible or unreasonable 7. Rules should be relatively stable of time Legal Formalist – the idea that law is a self-contained system of logic that is independent of social and moral considerations Natural Law (Aristotle) – legal principles are derived from nature and thought to be binding on human society, rather than being written by humans Traditional Law Perspective The difference between natural law and positive law is that natural law embodies universal truth while positive law is temporary and subject to the whims of the people who create the laws Utilitarianism (Beccaria & Bentham) – this perspective emphasizes that people calculate the consequences vs the rewards of their actions and act accordingly - Beccaria & Bentham believed that the justice system needs to be punitive, but only to the point that it deters people from committing crimes The Historical School discussed how law and legal systems changed as society developed on from ancient times Key beliefs of scholars from the Historical School: - Sir Henry Maine: key change in law was the change from status to contract - Friedrich Karl von Savigny: law reflects and expresses culture, spirit, and values - Emile Durkheim: the type of punishment in society reflects its degree of heterogeneity of beliefs/values - Max Weber: development of rationality is a key point of modern society and law became more rational as society became more modern - Karl Marx: law reinforces elite dominance by helping preserve private property and placate the working class Durkheim, Weber, and Marx are the three key founders of sociology and they all believed that law is a key variable to understanding how societies changed as they became more modern Legal Realism – argues that how law really works can be different from how it’s supposed to work The school of sociological jurisprudence argues that law has social underpinnings and impacts (Ehrlich & Pound) Living Law – a society’s customs - Ehrlich believed that positive law can only be effective if it corresponds to living law; if laws violate people’s customs then they won’t be effective Pound distinguished law in action (how it works in reality) vs law in books (law in theory) Functionalist and conflict theories are the contemporary perspectives in the study of law and society Functionalist Theory – views law as means to help preserve social order, make social life possible, settle disputes, protect individual freedoms, and bring about social change - This perspective assumes that major sociodemographic groups agree on important legal and political issues - Much of this theory derives from Durkheim’s idea that socialization and social integration is important for social stability - This theory is skeptical of sudden social change Consensus Theory – similar to functionalist theory, this theory assumes that most people (regardless of race, gender, social class, etc.) hold similar views on social and political issues Durkheim recognized that there will always be deviant people in society, and that deviance is a normal, healthy part of society - He believed that society without deviance is impossible because the collective conscience is never strong enough to prevent all rule-breaking Durkheim’s 4 functions of deviance: 1. Clarifies social norms and increases conformity 2. Strengthens social bonds among people reacting to deviance 3. Can help lead to positive social change 4. Creates jobs (police, prisons, etc.) Conflict Theory (Marx & Friedrich) – emphasizes that social institutions help perpetuate inequality by maintaining the control of the few powerful individuals and groups - Conflict theorists believe that social change is needed to lessen and eliminate social inequality - Assumes that major sociodemographic groups disagree on important political and legal issues Instrumentalist View (Marx) – assumes that laws and the state are tools that can be used by the ruling class to oppress the working class and maintain its superiority Structuralist View (Marx) – assumes that ruling-class individuals and groups sometimes disagree and compete against each other for short-term advantages, which may lead to economic and political instability Beliefs of the Critical Legal Studies Movement (1977): 1. Law is political 2. Law is indeterminate 3. Law is ideological 4. Legal education contributes to law student’s passivity and to social inequality when law students graduate and begin to practice Critical Race Theory arose as a reaction to the neglect of racial issues in the Critical Legal Studies Movement - Argues that the U.S. is a racist society and that the law manifests and contributes to racism Feminist Legal Theory arose as a reaction to the neglect of gender issues in the Critical Legal Studies Movement - Argues that law reflects and contributes to fundamental sexism in larger societies Families of Law – categories of types of legal systems; there are 5 families of law 5 families of law: 1. Common Law – emphasizes case law (law made by a judge) a. Originated in Britain b. U.S. has common law, except for Louisiana c. No nation is purely a common law nation d. A key feature in common law is the adversary system in which attorneys for the opposing side contest evidence 2. Civil Law – nations rely primarily on written code/collections of law that have their origins in Ancient Rome and the 1804 Napoleonic Code a. Europe and South America b. Judges have less power than in common law, and their main role is to interpret the legal codes c. Judges don’t make or overturn laws 3. Theocratic Law – a legal system that is dependent on religious beliefs a. Islamic law is the main type of theocratic law today 4. Socialist Law – legal system of communist nations that is used to repression a. USSR, China, North Korea, Vietnam, and Cuba 5. Traditional Law – relies primarily on unwritten laws and customs a. Israel b. Found in traditional societies c. Tends to be group-oriented d. Tends to favor compromise solutions as opposed to win/lose solutions


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