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Sociology of law

Sociology of law

Overview
The sociology of law is often described as a sub-discipline of sociology
Sociology
Sociology is the study of society. It is a social science—a term with which it is sometimes synonymous—which uses various methods of empirical investigation and critical analysis to develop a body of knowledge about human social activity...

 or an interdisciplinary approach within legal studies. While some socio-legal scholars see the sociology of law as "necessarily" belonging to the discipline of sociology, others see it as a field of research caught up in the disciplinary tensions and competitions between the two established disciplines of law
Law
Law is a system of rules and guidelines which are enforced through social institutions to govern behavior, wherever possible. It shapes politics, economics and society in numerous ways and serves as a social mediator of relations between people. Contract law regulates everything from buying a bus...

 and sociology.
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Encyclopedia
The sociology of law is often described as a sub-discipline of sociology
Sociology
Sociology is the study of society. It is a social science—a term with which it is sometimes synonymous—which uses various methods of empirical investigation and critical analysis to develop a body of knowledge about human social activity...

 or an interdisciplinary approach within legal studies. While some socio-legal scholars see the sociology of law as "necessarily" belonging to the discipline of sociology, others see it as a field of research caught up in the disciplinary tensions and competitions between the two established disciplines of law
Law
Law is a system of rules and guidelines which are enforced through social institutions to govern behavior, wherever possible. It shapes politics, economics and society in numerous ways and serves as a social mediator of relations between people. Contract law regulates everything from buying a bus...

 and sociology. Yet, others regard it neither as a sub-discipline of sociology nor as a branch of legal studies and, instead, present it as a field of research on its own right within a broader social science tradition. For example, Roger Cotterrell
Roger Cotterrell
Roger Cotterrell is the Anniversary Professor of Legal Theory at Queen Mary, University of London and was made a Fellow of the British Academy in 2005...

 describes the sociology of law without reference to mainstream sociology as "the systematic, theoretically grounded, empirical study of law as a set of social practices or as an aspect or field of social experience".

Irrespective of whether the sociology of law is defined as a sub-discipline of sociology, an approach within legal studies, or a field of research in its own right, it remains intellectually dependent mainly on mainstream sociology
Sociology
Sociology is the study of society. It is a social science—a term with which it is sometimes synonymous—which uses various methods of empirical investigation and critical analysis to develop a body of knowledge about human social activity...

, and to lesser extent on other social sciences
Social sciences
Social science is the field of study concerned with society. "Social science" is commonly used as an umbrella term to refer to a plurality of fields outside of the natural sciences usually exclusive of the administrative or managerial sciences...

 such as social anthropology
Social anthropology
Social Anthropology is one of the four or five branches of anthropology that studies how contemporary human beings behave in social groups. Practitioners of social anthropology investigate, often through long-term, intensive field studies , the social organization of a particular person: customs,...

, political science
Political science
Political Science is a social science discipline concerned with the study of the state, government and politics. Aristotle defined it as the study of the state. It deals extensively with the theory and practice of politics, and the analysis of political systems and political behavior...

, social policy
Social policy
Social policy primarily refers to guidelines, principles, legislation and activities that affect the living conditions conducive to human welfare. Thus, social policy is that part of public policy that has to do with social issues...

, criminology
Criminology
Criminology is the scientific study of the nature, extent, causes, and control of criminal behavior in both the individual and in society...

 and psychology
Psychology
Psychology is the study of the mind and behavior. Its immediate goal is to understand individuals and groups by both establishing general principles and researching specific cases. For many, the ultimate goal of psychology is to benefit society...

, i.e. it draws on social theories and employs social scientific methods to study law
Law
Law is a system of rules and guidelines which are enforced through social institutions to govern behavior, wherever possible. It shapes politics, economics and society in numerous ways and serves as a social mediator of relations between people. Contract law regulates everything from buying a bus...

, legal institutions and legal behaviour.

More specifically, the sociology of law consists of various sociological approaches to the study of law in society, which empirically examine and theorize the interaction between law and legal institutions, on the one hand, and other (non-legal) social institutions and social factors, on the other. Areas of socio-legal inquiry include the social development of legal institutions, forms of social control
Social control
Social control refers generally to societal and political mechanisms or processes that regulate individual and group behavior, leading to conformity and compliance to the rules of a given society, state, or social group. Many mechanisms of social control are cross-cultural, if only in the control...

, legal regulation
Regulation
Regulation is administrative legislation that constitutes or constrains rights and allocates responsibilities. It can be distinguished from primary legislation on the one hand and judge-made law on the other...

, the interaction between legal culture
Legal culture
Legal cultures are described as being temporary outcomes of interactions and occur pursuant to a challenge and response paradigm. Analyses of core legal paradigms shape the characteristics of individual and distinctive legal cultures....

s, the social construction of legal issues, legal profession, and the relation between law and social change
Social change
Social change refers to an alteration in the social order of a society. It may refer to the notion of social progress or sociocultural evolution, the philosophical idea that society moves forward by dialectical or evolutionary means. It may refer to a paradigmatic change in the socio-economic...

.

The sociology of law also benefits from and occasionally draws on research conducted within other fields such as comparative law
Comparative law
Comparative law is the study of differences and similarities between the law of different countries. More specifically, it involves study of the different legal systems in existence in the world, including the common law, the civil law, socialist law, Islamic law, Hindu law, and Chinese law...

, critical legal studies
Critical legal studies
Critical legal studies is a movement in legal thought that applied methods similar to those of critical theory to law. The abbreviations "CLS" and "Crit" are sometimes used to refer to the movement and its adherents....

, jurisprudence
Jurisprudence
Jurisprudence is the theory and philosophy of law. Scholars of jurisprudence, or legal theorists , hope to obtain a deeper understanding of the nature of law, of legal reasoning, legal systems and of legal institutions...

, legal theory, law and economics
Law and economics
The economic analysis of law is an analysis of law applying methods of economics. Economic concepts are used to explain the effects of laws, to assess which legal rules are economically efficient, and to predict which legal rules will be promulgated.-Relationship to other disciplines and...

 and law and literature
Law and literature
The law and literature movement focuses on the interdisciplinary connection between law and literature. This field has roots in two major developments in the intellectual history of law -- first, the growing doubt about whether law in isolation is a source of value and meaning, or whether it must...

.

Intellectual Origins



The roots of the sociology of law can be traced back to the works of sociologists and jurists of the turn of the previous century. The relationship between law and society was sociologically explored in the seminal works of both Max Weber
Max Weber
Karl Emil Maximilian "Max" Weber was a German sociologist and political economist who profoundly influenced social theory, social research, and the discipline of sociology itself...

 and Émile Durkheim
Émile Durkheim
David Émile Durkheim was a French sociologist. He formally established the academic discipline and, with Karl Marx and Max Weber, is commonly cited as the principal architect of modern social science and father of sociology.Much of Durkheim's work was concerned with how societies could maintain...

. The writings on law by these classical sociologists are foundational to the entire sociology of law today. A number of other scholars, mainly jurists, also employed social scientific theories and methods in an attempt to develop sociological theories of law. Notably among these were Leon Petrazycki
Leon Petrazycki
Leon Petrazycki was a Polish philosopher, legal scholar and sociologist. He is considered one of the important forerunners of the sociology of law.- Life :Leon Petrażycki was born into the Polish gentry of the Vitebsk region in the Russian Empire...

, Eugen Ehrlich
Eugen Ehrlich
Eugen Ehrlich was an Austrian legal scholar and sociologist of law....

 and Georges Gurvitch
Georges Gurvitch
Georges Gurvitch was a Russian born French sociologist and jurist. One of the leading sociologists of his times, he was a specialist of the sociology of knowledge. In 1944 he founded the journal Cahiers internationaux de Sociologie. He held a chair in sociology at the Sorbonne in Paris.Gurvitch is...

.

For Max Weber, a so-called "legal rational form" as a type of domination within society, is not attributable to people but to abstract norms. He understood the body of coherent and calculable law in terms of a rational-legal authority
Rational-legal authority
Rational-legal authority is a form of leadership in which the authority of an organization or a ruling regime is largely tied to legal rationality, legal legitimacy and bureaucracy...

. Such coherent and calculable law formed a precondition for modern political developments and the modern bureaucratic state and developed in parallel with the growth of capitalism
Capitalism
Capitalism is an economic system that became dominant in the Western world following the demise of feudalism. There is no consensus on the precise definition nor on how the term should be used as a historical category...

. Central to the development of modern law is the formal rationalisation of law on the basis of general procedures that are applied equally and fairly to all. Modern rationalised law is also codified and impersonal in its application to specific cases. In general, Weber's standpoint can be described as an external approach to law that studies the empirical characteristics of law, as opposed to the internal perspective of the legal sciences and the moral approach of the philosophy of law.

Émile Durkheim wrote in The Division of Labour in Society
The Division of Labour in Society
The Division of Labor in Society is the dissertation of French sociologist Émile Durkheim, written in 1893. It was influential in advancing sociological theories and thought, with ideas which in turn were influenced by Auguste Comte...

that as society becomes more complex, the body of civil law concerned primarily with restitution
Restitution
The law of restitution is the law of gains-based recovery. It is to be contrasted with the law of compensation, which is the law of loss-based recovery. Obligations to make restitution and obligations to pay compensation are each a type of legal response to events in the real world. When a court...

 and compensation
Damages
In law, damages is an award, typically of money, to be paid to a person as compensation for loss or injury; grammatically, it is a singular noun, not plural.- Compensatory damages :...

 grows at the expense of criminal laws and penal sanctions. Over time, law has undergone a transformation from repressive law to restitutive law. Restitutive law operates in societies in which there is a high degree of individual variation and emphasis on personal rights and responsibilities. For Durkheim, law is an indicator of the mode of integration of a society, which can be mechanical, among identical parts, or organic, among differentiated parts such as in industrialized societies. Durkheim also argued that a sociology of law should be developed alongside, and in close connection with, a sociology of morals, studying the development of value systems reflected in law.

In Fundamental Principles of the Sociology of Law, Eugen Ehrlich
Eugen Ehrlich
Eugen Ehrlich was an Austrian legal scholar and sociologist of law....

 developed a sociological approach to the study of law by focusing on how social networks and groups organized social life. He explored the relationship between law and general social norms and distinguished between "positive law," consisting of the compulsive norms of state requiring official enforcement, and "living law," consisting of the rules of conduct that people in fact obeyed and which dominated social life. The latter emerged spontaneously as people interacted with each other to form social associations.
This was subjected to criticism by the advocates of legal positivism such as jurist Hans Kelsen for its distinction between "law created by the state and law produced by the organisational imperatives of non-state social associations". According to Kelsen, Ehrlich had confused Sein ("is") and Sollen ("ought"). However, some argued that Ehrlich was distinguishing between positive (or state) law, which lawyers learn and apply, and other forms of 'law', what Ehrlich called "living law", that regulate everyday life, generally preventing conflicts from reaching lawyers and courts.
Leon Petrazycki
Leon Petrazycki
Leon Petrazycki was a Polish philosopher, legal scholar and sociologist. He is considered one of the important forerunners of the sociology of law.- Life :Leon Petrażycki was born into the Polish gentry of the Vitebsk region in the Russian Empire...

 distinguished between forms of "official law," supported by the state, and "intuitive law," consisting of legal experiences that, in turn, consist of a complex of psychic processes in the mind of the individual with no reference to outside authorities. Petrazycki's work addressed sociological problems and his method was empirical, since he maintained that one could gain knowledge of objects or relationships only by observation. However, he couched his theory in the language of cognitive psychology and moral philosophy rather than sociology. Consequently, his contribution to the development of sociology of law remains largely unrecognized. For example, Petrazycki's "intuitive law" influenced not only the development of Georges Gurvitch's concept of "social law" (see below), which in turn has left its mark on socio-legal theorising, but also the work of later socio-legal scholars. Among those who were directly inspired by Petrazycki's work is the Polish legal sociologist Adam Podgórecki
Adam Podgórecki
Adam Podgórecki is an internationally renowned legal sociologist and one of the founders of the Research Committee on Sociology of Law . Podgórecki was also one of the founders of the first institute at Warsaw University which was devoted to the social scientific studies of law...

.

Theodor Geiger
Theodor Geiger
Theodor Julius Geiger was a German socialist lawyer and sociologist. He was Denmark's first professor of sociology, at the University of Åarhus.- Life :...

 developed a close-knit analysis of the Marxist theory of law. He highlighted how law becomes a "factor in social transformation in democratic societies of the kind that are governed by the consent expressed by universal suffrage of the population practised at regular intervals". Geiger went on to developed the salient characteristics of his antimetaphysical thinking, until he exceeded it with practical nihilism
Nihilism
Nihilism is the philosophical doctrine suggesting the negation of one or more putatively meaningful aspects of life. Most commonly, nihilism is presented in the form of existential nihilism which argues that life is without objective meaning, purpose, or intrinsic value...

. Geiger's nihilism of values paved the way for a form of legal nihilism, which encourages the construction of a sober democracy "that is capable of raising conflict to the intellectual level and of anaesthetising feelings, as it is aware of its own inability to make any proclamation of value, ethics or policy about the nature of truth".

Georges Gurvitch
Georges Gurvitch
Georges Gurvitch was a Russian born French sociologist and jurist. One of the leading sociologists of his times, he was a specialist of the sociology of knowledge. In 1944 he founded the journal Cahiers internationaux de Sociologie. He held a chair in sociology at the Sorbonne in Paris.Gurvitch is...

 was interested in the fusion of simultaneous manifestation of law in various forms and at various levels of social interaction. His aim was to devise the concept of "social law" as a law of integration and cooperation. Gurvitch's social law was an integral part of his general sociology. "It is also one of the early sociological contributions to the theory of legal pluralism, since it challenged all conceptions of law based on a single source of legal, political, or moral authority".

Modern Sociology of Law


The sociology of law became clearly established as an academic field of learning and empirical research after the Second World War. After World War II, the study of law was not central in sociology, although some well-known sociologists did write about the role of law in society. In the work of the Talcott Parsons
Talcott Parsons
Talcott Parsons was an American sociologist who served on the faculty of Harvard University from 1927 to 1973....

, for instance, law is conceived as an essential mechanism of social control . In response to the criticisms that were developed against functionalism, other sociological perspectives of law emerged. Critical sociologists, developed a perspective of law as an instrument of power. However, other theorists in the sociology of law, such as Philip Selznick
Philip Selznick
Philip Selznick was professor of law and society at the University of California, Berkeley. A noted author in organizational theory, sociology of law and public administration, Selznick's work has been groundbreaking in several fields in such books as The Moral Commonwealth, TVA and the Grass...

, argued that modern law became increasingly responsive to a society's needs and had to be approached morally as well. Still other scholars, most notably the American sociologist Donald Black, developed a resolutely scientific theory of law on the basis of a paradigm of pure sociology
Pure sociology
Like rational choice theory, conflict theory, or functionalism, pure sociology is a sociological paradigm -- a strategy for explaining human behavior. Developed by Donald Black as an alternative to individualistic and social-psychological theories, pure sociology was initially used to explain...

. Equally broad in orientation, but again different, is the autopoietic systems theory of the German sociologist Niklas Luhmann
Niklas Luhmann
Niklas Luhmann was a German sociologist, and a prominent thinker in sociological systems theory.-Biography:...

, who sees law as normatively closed, but cognitively open system (autopoiesis is discussed below under Contemporary Perspectives).
Social philosopher Jürgen Habermas
Jürgen Habermas
Jürgen Habermas is a German sociologist and philosopher in the tradition of critical theory and pragmatism. He is perhaps best known for his theory on the concepts of 'communicative rationality' and the 'public sphere'...

 disagrees with Luhmann and argues that the law can do a better job as a 'system' institution' by representing more faithfully the interests of everyday people in the 'lifeworld'. Yet another sociological theory of law and lawyers is that of Pierre Bourdieu
Pierre Bourdieu
Pierre Bourdieu was a French sociologist, anthropologist, and philosopher.Starting from the role of economic capital for social positioning, Bourdieu pioneered investigative frameworks and terminologies such as cultural, social, and symbolic capital, and the concepts of habitus, field or location,...

 and his followers, who see law as a social field in which actors struggle for cultural, symbolic and economic capital and in so doing develop the reproductive professional habitus of the lawyer. In several continental European countries empirical research in sociology of law developed strongly from the 1960s and 1970s. In Poland the work of Adam Podgórecki
Adam Podgórecki
Adam Podgórecki is an internationally renowned legal sociologist and one of the founders of the Research Committee on Sociology of Law . Podgórecki was also one of the founders of the first institute at Warsaw University which was devoted to the social scientific studies of law...

 and his associates (often influenced by Petrazycki's ideas) was especially notable; in Sweden empirical research in sociology of law in this period was pioneered especially by Per Stjernquist
Per Stjernquist
Per Sternquist was a Swedish law professor who was almost single-handedly responsible for establishing the teaching of the new field of sociology of law in Sweden from the 1960s.Stjernquist had begun his career as a local judge and court official...

, and in Norway by Vilhelm Aubert
Vilhelm Aubert
Johan Vilhelm Aubert was an influential Norwegian sociologist. He was a professor at the University of Oslo from 1963 to his death, first at the Department of the Sociology of Law and then at the Department of the Sociology of Law...

.

In more recent years, a very wide range of theories has emerged in the sociology of law as a result of the proliferation of theories in sociology at large. Among the recent influences can be mentioned the work of the French philosopher Michel Foucault
Michel Foucault
Michel Foucault , born Paul-Michel Foucault , was a French philosopher, social theorist and historian of ideas...

, the German social theorist Jürgen Habermas
Jürgen Habermas
Jürgen Habermas is a German sociologist and philosopher in the tradition of critical theory and pragmatism. He is perhaps best known for his theory on the concepts of 'communicative rationality' and the 'public sphere'...

, feminism
Feminism
Feminism is a collection of movements aimed at defining, establishing, and defending equal political, economic, and social rights and equal opportunities for women. Its concepts overlap with those of women's rights...

, postmodernism
Postmodernism
Postmodernism is a philosophical movement evolved in reaction to modernism, the tendency in contemporary culture to accept only objective truth and to be inherently suspicious towards a global cultural narrative or meta-narrative. Postmodernist thought is an intentional departure from the...

 and deconstruction
Deconstruction
Deconstruction is a term introduced by French philosopher Jacques Derrida in his 1967 book Of Grammatology. Although he carefully avoided defining the term directly, he sought to apply Martin Heidegger's concept of Destruktion or Abbau, to textual reading...

, neo-Marxism
Neo-Marxism
Neo-Marxism is a loose term for various twentieth-century approaches that amend or extend Marxism and Marxist theory, usually by incorporating elements from other intellectual traditions, such as: critical theory, psychoanalysis or Existentialism .Erik Olin Wright's theory of contradictory class...

, and behaviorism
Behaviorism
Behaviorism , also called the learning perspective , is a philosophy of psychology based on the proposition that all things that organisms do—including acting, thinking, and feeling—can and should be regarded as behaviors, and that psychological disorders are best treated by altering behavior...

. The variety of theoretical influences in the sociology of law has also marked the broader law and society field. The multi-disciplinary law and society field remains very popular, while the disciplinary speciality field of the sociology of law is also "better organized than ever in institutional and professional respects."

Law and Society


Law and Society is an American movement, which was established after the Second World War through the initiative mainly of sociologists who had a vested interest in the study of law. The rationale of the Law and Society movement is subtly summed up in two short sentences by Lawrence Friedman: "Law is a massive vital presence in the United States. It is too important to be left to lawyers". Its founders believed that the "study of law and legal institutions in their social context could be constituted as a scholarly field distinguished by its commitment to interdisciplinary dialogue and multidisciplinary research methods". The establishment of the Law and Society Association
Law and Society Association
The Law and Society Association is an association founded in 1964. Its members come from many fields and countries and are interested in "the place of law in social, political, economic and cultural life". The association publishes the academic journal Law & Society Review.The LSA's executive...

 in 1964 and of the Law and society Review in 1966 guaranteed continuity in the scholarly activities of the Law and Society movement and allowed its members to influence legal education and policy-making in the US.

The main difference between the sociology of law and Law and Society is that the latter does not limit itself theoretically or methodologically to sociology and tries instead to accommodate insights from all social science disciplines. "Not only does it provides a home for sociologists and social anthropologists and political scientists with an interest in law, it also tries to incorporate psychologists and economists who study law."

During 1970s and 1980s a number of original empirical studies were conducted by Law and Society scholars on conflict and dispute resolution. In his early work, William Felstiner
Bill Felstiner
William L.F. Felstiner , usually known as Bill Felstiner, is an internationally renowned socio-legal scholar. With his wife Gray he has two sons.-Education and early career:...

, for example, focused on alternative ways to solve conflicts (avoidance, mediation, litigation etc.). Together with Richard Abel
Richard Abel
Richard L. Abel is Professor of Law , specialist in African Law Studies and renowned socio-legal scholar. He received his B.A. from Harvard University , his LL.B. from Columbia University and his Ph.D. from the University of London . He has been a member of the UCLA Law faculty since 1974...

 and Austin Sarat
Austin Sarat
Austin Sarat is William Nelson Cromwell professor of Jurisprudence and Political Science at Amherst College in Amherst, Massachusetts. He is also a Five College Fortieth Anniversary Professor. He has written, co-written, or edited more than fifty books in the fields of law and political science. ...

, Felstiner developed the idea of a disputes pyramid and the formula "naming, blaming, claiming", which refers to different stages of conflict resolution and levels of the pyramid.

Sociological Jurisprudence


The sociology of law is often distinguished from sociological jurisprudence. The latter is not primarily concerned with debates within mainstream sociology and instead engages with some of the debates within jurisprudence and legal theory. Sociological jurisprudence seeks to base legal arguments on sociological insights and, unlike legal theory, is concerned with the mundane practices that create legal institutions and social operations which reproduce legal systems over time. It was developed in the United States by Roscoe Pound
Roscoe Pound
Nathan Roscoe Pound was a distinguished American legal scholar and educator. He was Dean of Harvard Law School from 1916 to 1936...

 and by earlier jurists, such as Eugen Ehrlich
Eugen Ehrlich
Eugen Ehrlich was an Austrian legal scholar and sociologist of law....

 and Georges Gurvitch
Georges Gurvitch
Georges Gurvitch was a Russian born French sociologist and jurist. One of the leading sociologists of his times, he was a specialist of the sociology of knowledge. In 1944 he founded the journal Cahiers internationaux de Sociologie. He held a chair in sociology at the Sorbonne in Paris.Gurvitch is...

, in Europe.

Although distinguishing between different branches of the social scientific studies of law allows us to explain and analyse the development of the sociology of law in relation to mainstream sociology and legal studies, such potentially artificial distinctions are not necessarily fruitful for the development of the field as whole. For the social scientific studies of law to transcend the theoretical and empirical limits, which currently define their scope, they need to go beyond such artificial distinctions.

Socio-Legal Studies


'Socio-Legal Studies' in the UK has grown mainly out of the interest of law schools in promoting interdisciplinary studies of law. Whether regarded as an emerging discipline, sub-discipline or a methodological approach, it is often viewed in light of its relationship to, and oppositional role within, law. It should not, therefore, be confused with the legal sociology of many West European countries or the Law and Society scholarship in the US, which foster much stronger disciplinary ties with social sciences. In the past, it has been presented as the applied branch of the sociology of law and criticised for being empiricist and atheoretical. Max Travers, for example, regards Socio-Legal Studies as a subfield of social policy, 'mainly concerned with influencing or serving government policy in the provision of legal services' and adds that it "has given up any aspirations it once had to develop general theories about the policy process".

Socio-Legal Methods of Investigation

The sociology of law has no methods of investigation which have been developed specifically for conducting socio-legal research. Instead, it employs a wide variety of social scientific methods, including qualitative and quantitative research techniques, to explore law and legal phenomena. Positivistic as well as interpretive (such as discourse analysis) and ethnographic approaches to data collection and analysis is used within the socio-legal field.

Sociology of Law in Britain


Sociology of law was a small, but developing, sub-field of British sociology
at the time when Campbell and Wiles wrote their review of law and society
research in 1976. Unfortunately, despite its initial promise, it has remained a
small field. Very few empirical sociological studies are published each year.
Nevertheless, there have been some excellent studies, representing a variety
of sociological traditions. The two most popular approaches during the 1960s and 1970s were
interactionism and Marxism.

Symbolic Interactionism and Marxism

Interactionism
Symbolic interactionism
Symbolic Interaction, also known as interactionism, is a sociological theory that places emphasis on micro-scale social interaction to provide subjective meaning in human behavior, the social process and pragmatism.-History:...

 had become popular in America in the 1950s and 1960s as a politically radical alternative to structural-functionalism. Instead of viewing society as a system regulating and controlling the actions of individuals, interactionists argued that sociology should address what people were doing in particular situations, and how they understood their own actions. The sociology of deviance, which included topics such as crime, homosexuality, and mental illness, became the focus for these theoretical debates. Functionalists had portrayed crime as a problem to be managed by the legal system. Labeling theorists, by contrast, focused on the process of law-making and enforcement: how crime was constructed as a problem. A number of British sociologists, and some researchers in law schools, have drawn on these ideas in writing about law and crime.

The most influential sociological approach during this period was, however,
Marxism—which claimed to offer a scientific and comprehensive understanding
of society as a whole in the same way as structural-functionalism, although with
the emphasis on the struggle between different groups for material advantage,
rather than value-consensus. This approach caught the imagination of many
people with left-wing political views in law schools, but it also generated some
interesting empirical studies. These included historical studies about how particular
statutes were used to advance the interests of dominant economic groups,
and also Pat Carlen's memorable ethnography, which combined analytic
resources from Marxism and interactionism, especially the sociology of Erving
Goffman, in writing about magistrates' courts.

The Oxford Centre for Socio-Legal Studies

The 1980s were also a fruitful time for sociology of law in Britain, mainly
because Donald Harris deliberately set out to create the conditions for a fruitful
exchange between lawyers and sociologists at the University of Oxford
University of Oxford
The University of Oxford is a university located in Oxford, United Kingdom. It is the second-oldest surviving university in the world and the oldest in the English-speaking world. Although its exact date of foundation is unclear, there is evidence of teaching as far back as 1096...

 Centre for Socio-Legal Studies. He was fortunate enough to recruit a number of young and
talented social scientists, including J. Maxwell Atkinson and Robert Dingwall who were interested in ethnomethodology, conversation analysis, and the sociology
of the professions, and Doreen McBarnet who became something of a cult figure on the left after publishing her doctoral thesis, which advanced a particularly clear and vigorous Marxist analysis of the criminal justice system. Ethnomethodology has not previously been mentioned in this review, and tends to be over-looked by many reviewers in this field since it cannot easily be assimilated to their theoretical interests. One can note, however, that it has always offered a more radical and thorough-going way of theorizing action than interactionism (although the two approaches have a lot in common when compared to traditions that view society as a structural whole, like Marxism or structural-functionalism). During his time at the center, J. Maxwell Atkinson collaborated with Paul Drew, a sociologist at the University of York, in what became the first conversation analytic study of courtroom interaction, using
transcripts of coroner's hearings in Northern Ireland.

Another area of interest developed at Oxford during this period
was the sociology of the professions. Robert Dingwall and Philip Lewis edited what remains an interesting and theoretically diverse collection, bringing together specialists from the sociology of law and medicine. The best known
study to date has, however, been published by an American legal scholar who employed ideas and concepts from functionalist, Marxist, and Weberian
sociology to explain the high incomes and status that British lawyers enjoyed
for most of the twentieth century.

Recent Developments

Since the 1980s, relatively few empirical studies of law and legal institutions have been conducted by British sociologists, i.e. studies which are empirical and at the same time engage with the theoretical concerns of sociology. There are, however, some exceptions. To begin with, sociology of law, along with so many areas of academic work, has been enlivened and renewed through engagement with feminism. There has been a great deal of
interest in the implications of Foucault's ideas on governmentality for understanding
law, and also in continental thinkers such as Niklas Luhmann and Pierre Bourdieu. Again, one can argue that rather fewer empirical studies have been produced than one might have hoped, but a great deal of interesting work has been published.

A second exception is to be found in the works of researchers who have employed resources from ethnomethodology and symbolic interactionism in studying legal settings. This type of research is clearly sociological rather than socio-legal research because it continually engages in debate with other theoretical traditions in sociology. Max Travers' doctoral thesis about the work of a firm of criminal lawyers took other sociologists, and especially Marxists, to task for not addressing or respecting how lawyers and clients understand their own actions (a standard argument used by ethnomethodologists in debates with structural
traditions in the discipline). It also, however, explored issues raised by legal thinkers in their critique of structural traditions in sociology of law: the extent to which social science can address the content of legal practice.

Despite the relatively limited developments in recent empirical research, theoretical debates in sociology of law have been important in British literature during recent decades, with contributions from David Nelken
David Nelken
David Nelken is the Distinguished Professor of Legal Institutions and Social Change Faculty of Political Science, University of Macerata and the Distinguished Visiting Research Professor, Faculty of Law, Cardiff University....

 exploring the problems of a comparative sociology of law and the potential of the idea of legal cultures, Roger Cotterrell
Roger Cotterrell
Roger Cotterrell is the Anniversary Professor of Legal Theory at Queen Mary, University of London and was made a Fellow of the British Academy in 2005...

 seeking to develop a new view of the relations of law and community to replace what he sees as outdated 'law and society' paradigms, and David Schiff, Richard Nobles and others examining the potential of Luhmannian systems theory in re-interpreting juristic theories of law in sociological terms.

Devising a Sociological Concept of Law


In contrast to the traditional understanding of law (see the separate entry on law
Law
Law is a system of rules and guidelines which are enforced through social institutions to govern behavior, wherever possible. It shapes politics, economics and society in numerous ways and serves as a social mediator of relations between people. Contract law regulates everything from buying a bus...

), the sociology of law does not normally view and define the law only as a system of rules, doctrine and decisions, which exist independently of the society out of which it has emerged. The rule-based aspect of law is, admittedly, important, but provides an inadequate basis for describing, analysing and understanding law in its societal context. Thus, legal sociology regards law as a set of institutional practices which have evolved over time and developed in relation to, and through interaction with, cultural, economic and socio-political structures and institutions. As a modern social system, law does strive to gain and retain its autonomy to function independently of other social institutions and systems such as religion, polity and economy. Yet, it remains historically and functionally linked to these other institutions. Thus, one of the objectives of the sociology of law remains to devise empirical methodologies capable of describing and explaining modern law's interdependence with other social institutions.

Some influential approaches within the sociology of law have challenged definitions of law in terms of official (state) law (see for example Eugen Ehrlich
Eugen Ehrlich
Eugen Ehrlich was an Austrian legal scholar and sociologist of law....

's concept of "living law" and Georges Gurvitch
Georges Gurvitch
Georges Gurvitch was a Russian born French sociologist and jurist. One of the leading sociologists of his times, he was a specialist of the sociology of knowledge. In 1944 he founded the journal Cahiers internationaux de Sociologie. He held a chair in sociology at the Sorbonne in Paris.Gurvitch is...

's "social law"). From this standpoint, law is understood broadly to include not only the legal system and formal (or official) legal institutions and processes, but also various informal (or unofficial) forms of nomativity and regulation which are generated within groups, associations and communities. The sociological studies of law are, thus, not limited to analysing how the rules or institutions of the legal system interact with social class, gender, race, religion, sexuality and other social categories. They also focus on how the internal normative orderings of various groups and "communities", such as the community of lawyers, businessmen, scientists, members of political parties, or members of the Mafia, interact with each other. In short, law is studied as an integral and constitutive part of social institutions, groupings and communities. This approach is developed further under the section on legal pluralism.

Non-Western Sociology of Law


The interest in the sociology of law continues to be more widespread in Western countries. Some important research has been produced by South American researchers as well as by Indian scholars , but we find only a limited amount of socio-legal work by researchers from, for example, the Middle East or central and northern parts of Africa . Thus, the global spread of sociological studies of law appears uneven and concentrated, above all, in industrialised nations with democratic political systems. In this sense, the global expansion of legal sociology “is not taking place uniformly across national boundaries and appears to correlate with a combination of factors such as national wealth/poverty and form of political organisation, as well as historical factors such as the growth of the welfare state... However, none of these factors alone can explain this disparity”.

Legal Pluralism


Legal pluralism is a concept developed by some legal sociologists and social anthropologists "to describe multiple layers of law, usually with different sources of legitimacy, that exist within a single state or society". It is also defined "as a situation in which two or more legal systems coexist in the same social field". Legal pluralists define law broadly to include not only the system of courts and judges backed by the coercive power of the state, but also the "non-legal forms of normative ordering". Legal pluralism consists of many different methodological approaches and as a concept, it embraces "diverse and often contested perspectives on law, ranging from the recognition of different legal orders within the nation-state, to a more far reaching and open-ended concept of law that does not necessarily depend on state recognition for validity. This latter concept of law may come into being whenever two or more legal systems exist in the same social field".
Legal pluralism has occupied a central position in socio-legal theorising from the very beginning of the sociology of law. The sociological theories of Eugen Ehrlich
Eugen Ehrlich
Eugen Ehrlich was an Austrian legal scholar and sociologist of law....

 and Georges Gurvitch
Georges Gurvitch
Georges Gurvitch was a Russian born French sociologist and jurist. One of the leading sociologists of his times, he was a specialist of the sociology of knowledge. In 1944 he founded the journal Cahiers internationaux de Sociologie. He held a chair in sociology at the Sorbonne in Paris.Gurvitch is...

 were early sociological contributions to legal pluralism. It has, moreover, provided the most enduring topic of socio-legal debate over many decades within both the sociology of law and legal anthropology. and has received more than its share of criticism from the proponents of the various schools of legal positivism
Legal positivism
Legal positivism is a school of thought of philosophy of law and jurisprudence, largely developed by nineteenth-century legal thinkers such as Jeremy Bentham and John Austin. However, the most prominent figure in the history of legal positivism is H.L.A...

. The critics often ask: "How is law distinguished in a pluralist view from other normative systems? What makes a social rule system legal?".

The controversy arises mainly "from the claim that the only true law is the law made and enforced by the modern state". This standpoint is also known as "legal centralism". From a legal centralist standpoint, John Griffiths writes, "law is and should be the law of the state, uniform for all persons, exclusive of all other law, and administrated by a single set of state institutions. Thus, according to legal centralism, "customary laws and religious laws are not propoerly called 'law' except in so far as state has chosen to adopt and treat any such normative order as part of its own law".

A distinction is often made between the "weak" and the "strong" versions of legal pluralism. The "weak" version does not necessarily question the main assumptions of "legal centralism", but only recognises that within the domain of the Western state law other legal systems, such as customary or Islamic law, may also have an autonomous (co-)existence. Thus, the "weak" version does not consider other forms of normative ordering as law. As Tamanaha, one of the critics of legal pluralism, puts it: "Normative ordering is, well, normative ordering. Law is something else, something that we isolate out and call law…". The "strong" version, on the other hand, rejects all legal centralist and formalist models of law, as "a myth, an ideal, a claim, an illusion," regarding state law as one among many forms of law or forms of social ordering. It insists that modern law is plural, that it is private as well as public, but most importantly "the national (public official) legal system is often a secondary rather than the primary locus of regulation".

The criticism directed at legal pluralism often uses the basic assumptions of legal positivism to question the validity of theories of legal pluralism which aim at criticising those very (positivistic) assumptions. As Roger Cotterrell
Roger Cotterrell
Roger Cotterrell is the Anniversary Professor of Legal Theory at Queen Mary, University of London and was made a Fellow of the British Academy in 2005...

 explains, the pluralist conception should be understood as part of "the legal sociologist's effort to broaden perspectives on law. A legal sociologist's specification of law might be different from that presupposed by a lawyer in practice, but it will relate (indeed, in some way incorporate) the latter because it must (if it is to reflect legal experience) take account of lawyers' perspectives on law. Thus a pluralist approach in legal theory is likely to recognise what lawyers typically recognize as law, but may see this law as one species of a larger genus, or treat lawyers' conception of law as reflecting particular perspectives determined by particular objectives".

Autopoiesis


Humberto Maturana
Humberto Maturana
Humberto Maturana is a Chilean biologist and philosopher. He is considered a member of the second wave of cybernetics, known for developing a theory of autopoiesis about the nature of reflexive feedback control in living systems.- Biography :After completing secondary school at the Liceo Manuel de...

 and Francisco Varela
Francisco Varela
Francisco Javier Varela García , was a Chilean biologist, philosopher and neuroscientist who, together with his teacher Humberto Maturana, is best known for introducing the concept of autopoiesis to biology.-Biography:...

 originally coined the concept of autopoiesis within theoretical biology to describe the self-reproduction of living cells through self-reference. This concept was later borrowed, reconstructed in sociological terms, and introduced into the sociology of law by Niklas Luhmann
Niklas Luhmann
Niklas Luhmann was a German sociologist, and a prominent thinker in sociological systems theory.-Biography:...

. Luhmann's systems theory transcends the classical understanding of object/subject by regarding communication (and not 'action') as the basic element of any social system. He breaks with traditional systems theory of Talcott Parsons and descriptions based on cybernetic feedback loops and structural understandings of self-organisation of the 1960s. This allows him to work towards devising a solution to the problem of the humanised 'subject'.

"Perhaps the most challenging idea incorporated in the theory of autopoiesis is that social systems should not be defined in terms of human agency or norms, but of communications. Communication is in turn the unity of utterance, information and understanding and constitutes social systems by recursively reproducing communication. This sociologically radical thesis, which raises the fear of a dehumanised theory of law and society, attempts to highlight the fact that social systems are constituted by communicative."

According to Roger Cotterrell
Roger Cotterrell
Roger Cotterrell is the Anniversary Professor of Legal Theory at Queen Mary, University of London and was made a Fellow of the British Academy in 2005...

, "Luhmann... treats the theory as the basis for all general sociological analysis of social systems and their mutual relations. But its theoretical claims about law's autonomy are very powerful postulates, presented in advance of (and even, perhaps, in place of) the kind of detailed empirical study of social and legal change that comparatists and most legal sociologists are likely to favour. The postulates of autopoiesis theory do not so much guide empirical research as explain conclusively how to interpret whatever this research may discover."

Legal Cultures


Legal culture is one of the central concepts of the sociology of law. The study of legal cultures may, at the same time, be regarded as one of the general approaches within the sociology of law.

As a concept, it refers to "relatively stable patterns of legally-oriented social behaviour and attitudes," and as such is regarded as a subcategory of the concept of culture. It is a relatively new concept which, according to David Nelken
David Nelken
David Nelken is the Distinguished Professor of Legal Institutions and Social Change Faculty of Political Science, University of Macerata and the Distinguished Visiting Research Professor, Faculty of Law, Cardiff University....

, can be traced to "terms like legal tradition or legal style, which have a much longer history in comparative law or in early political science. It presupposes and invites us to explore the existence of systematic variations in patterns in 'law in the books' and 'law in action,' and, above all, in the relation between them".

As an approach, it focuses on the cultural aspects of law, legal behaviour and legal institutions and, thus, has affinity with cultural anthropology
Cultural anthropology
Cultural anthropology is a branch of anthropology focused on the study of cultural variation among humans, collecting data about the impact of global economic and political processes on local cultural realities. Anthropologists use a variety of methods, including participant observation,...

, legal pluralism, and comparative law
Comparative law
Comparative law is the study of differences and similarities between the law of different countries. More specifically, it involves study of the different legal systems in existence in the world, including the common law, the civil law, socialist law, Islamic law, Hindu law, and Chinese law...

.

Lawrence M. Friedman
Lawrence M. Friedman
Lawrence M. Friedman is an American law professor and expert in American legal history. He has been a member of the faculty at Stanford Law School since 1968....

 is among socio-legal scholars who introduced the idea of legal culture into the sociology of law. For Friedman, legal culture "refers to public knowledge of and attitudes and behaviour patterns toward the legal system". It can also consist of "bodies of custom organically related to the culture as a whole. Friedman stresses the plurality of legal cultures and points out that one can explore legal cultures at different levels of abstraction, e.g. at the level of the legal system, the state, the country, or the community. Friedman is also known for introducing the distinction between the "internal" and "external" legal cultures. Somewhat oversimplified, the former refers to the general attitudes and perceptions of law among the functionaries of the legal system, such as the judiciary, while the latter can refer to the attitude of the citizenry to the legal system or to law and order generally.

Feminism


Law has always been regarded as one of the important sites of political struggle for the feminist movement. As pointed out by Ruth Fletcher feminist engagement with the law has taken many forms through the years, which also indicates their successful merging of theory and practice: "Through litigation, campaigns for reform and legal education, feminists have engaged explicitly with law and the legal profession. In taking on the provisions of specialist advice services, women's groups have played a role in making law accessible to those in need. By subjecting legal concepts and methods to critical analysis, feminists have questioned the terms of legal debate."

Globalization


Globalization
Globalization
Globalization refers to the increasingly global relationships of culture, people and economic activity. Most often, it refers to economics: the global distribution of the production of goods and services, through reduction of barriers to international trade such as tariffs, export fees, and import...

 is often defined in terms of economic processes which bring about radical cultural developments at the level of world society. Although law is an essential ingredient of the process of globalization - and important studies of law and globalization were already conducted in the 1990s by, for example, Yves Dezalay and Bryant Garth and Volkmar Gessner - law's importance for creating and maintaining the globalization processes are often neglected within the sociology of globalization and remain, arguably, somewhat underdeveloped within the sociology of law.

As pointed out by Halliday and Osinsky, "Economic globalization cannot be understood apart from global business regulation and the legal construction of the markets on which it increasingly depends. Cultural globalization cannot be explained without attention to intellectual property rights institutionalized in law and global governance regimes. The globalization of protections for vulnerable populations cannot be comprehended without tracing the impact of international criminal and humanitarian law or international tribunals. Global contestation over the institutions of democracy and state building cannot be meaningful unless considered in relation to constitutionalism."

The socio-legal approaches to the study of globalization and global society often overlap with, or make use of, studies of legal cultures and legal pluralism.

See also

  • Vilhelm Aubert
    Vilhelm Aubert
    Johan Vilhelm Aubert was an influential Norwegian sociologist. He was a professor at the University of Oslo from 1963 to his death, first at the Department of the Sociology of Law and then at the Department of the Sociology of Law...

  • Jean Carbonnier
    Jean Carbonnier
    Jean Carbonnier was a professor at the Faculty of Law at the University of Poitiers from 1937–1955, then at the Sorbonne until 1976....

  • Roger Cotterrell
    Roger Cotterrell
    Roger Cotterrell is the Anniversary Professor of Legal Theory at Queen Mary, University of London and was made a Fellow of the British Academy in 2005...

  • Émile Durkheim
    Émile Durkheim
    David Émile Durkheim was a French sociologist. He formally established the academic discipline and, with Karl Marx and Max Weber, is commonly cited as the principal architect of modern social science and father of sociology.Much of Durkheim's work was concerned with how societies could maintain...

  • Eugen Ehrlich
    Eugen Ehrlich
    Eugen Ehrlich was an Austrian legal scholar and sociologist of law....

  • William L.F. Felstiner
    Bill Felstiner
    William L.F. Felstiner , usually known as Bill Felstiner, is an internationally renowned socio-legal scholar. With his wife Gray he has two sons.-Education and early career:...

  • Lawrence M. Friedman
    Lawrence M. Friedman
    Lawrence M. Friedman is an American law professor and expert in American legal history. He has been a member of the faculty at Stanford Law School since 1968....

  • Theodor Geiger
    Theodor Geiger
    Theodor Julius Geiger was a German socialist lawyer and sociologist. He was Denmark's first professor of sociology, at the University of Åarhus.- Life :...

  • Niklas Luhmann
    Niklas Luhmann
    Niklas Luhmann was a German sociologist, and a prominent thinker in sociological systems theory.-Biography:...

  • Stewart Macaulay
  • Bronisław Malinowski
  • Adam Podgórecki
    Adam Podgórecki
    Adam Podgórecki is an internationally renowned legal sociologist and one of the founders of the Research Committee on Sociology of Law . Podgórecki was also one of the founders of the first institute at Warsaw University which was devoted to the social scientific studies of law...

  • Roscoe Pound
    Roscoe Pound
    Nathan Roscoe Pound was a distinguished American legal scholar and educator. He was Dean of Harvard Law School from 1916 to 1936...

  • Philip Selznick
    Philip Selznick
    Philip Selznick was professor of law and society at the University of California, Berkeley. A noted author in organizational theory, sociology of law and public administration, Selznick's work has been groundbreaking in several fields in such books as The Moral Commonwealth, TVA and the Grass...

  • Per Stjernquist
    Per Stjernquist
    Per Sternquist was a Swedish law professor who was almost single-handedly responsible for establishing the teaching of the new field of sociology of law in Sweden from the 1960s.Stjernquist had begun his career as a local judge and court official...

  • Renato Treves
    Renato Treves
    Renato Treves was born in Turin, Italy of a Jewish family. According to Vincenzo Ferrari, Treves "devoted his first academic study to the diffusion of Claude Henri de Saint-Simon's doctrines in Italy" before turning his attention to the neo-Kantian movement and Hans Kelsen's Pure Theory of...

  • William Graham Sumner
    William Graham Sumner
    William Graham Sumner was an American academic and "held the first professorship in sociology" at Yale College. For many years he had a reputation as one of the most influential teachers there. He was a polymath with numerous books and essays on American history, economic history, political...

  • Nicholas Timasheff
    Nicholas Timasheff
    Nicholas Sergeyevitch Timasheff was a Russian sociologist, professor of jurisprudence and writer.Timasheff "came from an old family of Russian nobility"; his father was Minister of Trade and Industry under Nicholas II. In St...

  • Max Weber
    Max Weber
    Karl Emil Maximilian "Max" Weber was a German sociologist and political economist who profoundly influenced social theory, social research, and the discipline of sociology itself...


Professional Associations or Societies


Research Committee on Sociology of Law
Research Committee on Sociology of Law
Research Committee on Sociology of Law was established in 1962 by William M. Evan and Adam Podgórecki , with the support of Renato Treves during the Congress of the International Sociological Association , which was held in Weshington D. C...

 

Socio-Legal Studies Association

International Institute for the Sociology of Law
International Institute for the Sociology of Law
The International Institute for the Sociology of Law in Oñati is the only international establishment which is entirely devoted to teaching and promoting the sociology of law, socio-legal studies, and law and society research....



Law and Society Association
Law and Society Association
The Law and Society Association is an association founded in 1964. Its members come from many fields and countries and are interested in "the place of law in social, political, economic and cultural life". The association publishes the academic journal Law & Society Review.The LSA's executive...



Vereinigung für Recht und Gesellschaft

The Law and Society Association of Australia and New Zealand Inc.
http://www.lsaanz.org/index.html

Canadian Law and Society Association / Association canadienne droit et société (CLSA/ACDS)
http://www.acds-clsa.org/

RT 13 (Thematic Network) sociology of law of the French Sociological Association
http://www.afs-socio.fr/rt13.html .
http://sasju.dyndns.org/

Associazione di studi su diritto e società (Italy)
http://www.dirittoesocieta.it

Japanese Association of Sociology of Law
http://wwwsoc.nii.ac.jp/hosha/english/eindex.htm

Journals


The Nordic Journal of Law and Justice http://www.retfaerd.org/

Zeitschrift für Rechtssoziologie http://www.luciusverlag.com/zeitschriften/ztschr_rechtssoziologie/zeitschrift_fuer_rechtssoziologie.htm

Law and Society Review

The Journal of Law and Society http://www.wiley.com/bw/journal.asp?ref=0263-323x

Journal of Empirical Legal Studies

Canadian Journal of Law and Society / Revue Canadienne Droit et Société / (since 1985)
http://www.utpjournals.com/cjls/cjls.html

Canadian Journal of Women and the Law (since 1985)
http://www.utpjournals.com/cjwl/cjwl.html

Droit et Société (Paris, France, since 1985)
http://www.reds.msh-paris.fr/publications/revue/revue-en-ligne.htm

International Journal of the Sociology of Law (since 1978)
http://www.elsevier.com/wps/find/journaldescription.cws_home/622848/...

Revue interdisciplinaire d'études juridiques (Brussels, Belgium, since 1978)

Social & Legal Studies (London, United Kingdom, since 1992)
http://sls.sagepub.com/

Sociologia del Diritto (Milan, Italy, since 1974 )
http://www.francoangeli.it/riviste/sommario.asp?IDRivista=51

Research Centres


Baldy Center for Law and Social Policy
http://www.law.buffalo.edu/baldycenter/

Sociology of Law Institute, Lund University, Sweden
http://www.soclaw.lu.se/o.o.i.s/4047

Centre d'étude, de technique et d'évaluation législatives Université de Genève
http://www.unige.ch/droit/cetel/

Centre for Law and Society, School of Law, University of Edinburgh
http://www.law.ed.ac.uk/cls/

Centre for Socio-Legal Research - University of Capetown, South Africa
http://www.uct.ac.za/depts/slr/

Centre for Socio-Legal Studies - University of Natal, South Africa
http://www.csls.org.za/

Center for Socio-Legal Studies - University of Oxford
http://www.csls.ox.ac.uk/

Center for the Study of Law and Society, California, Berkeley, USA
http://www.law.berkeley.edu/institutes/csls/about.html / newly: http://law.berkeley.edu/centers/csls/

European Academy for Law and Legislation
(http://www.eall.eu/)

Foundation for Law, Justice and Society, Wolfson College, Oxford
http://www.fljs.org

Institute of Global Law
http://www.ucl.ac.uk/laws/global_law/

Institute of Law and Social Sciences, Meiji University, Tokyo, Japan
http://www.meiji.ac.jp/dai_in/law/support/html/english/e_index.html

Institute for Legal Studies, University of Wisconsin, USA
http://www.law.wisc.edu/ils/

International Institute for the Sociology of Law, Oñati
http://www.iisj.net/

Justice Policy Research Centre - University of Newcastle, Australia
http://www.newcastle.edu.au/school/law/jprc/index.html

Laboratoire de sociologie juridique (Paris 2)
http://www.u-paris2.fr/52075380/0/fiche___laboratoire/&RH=LABO

Legal Intersections Research Centre - University of Wollongong, Australia
http://www.uow.edu.au/law/LIRC

Observatório Permanente da Justiça Portuguesa (Coimbra)
http://opj.ces.uc.pt/portugues/apresentacao/

Oxford Centre for Family Law and Policy, UK http://www.spsw.ox.ac.uk/fileadmin/static/Oxflap/

Research Institute for Law, Politics & Justice Keele University
http://www.keele.ac.uk/research/lpj/index.htm

External links