Sociology of Law : introduction

'Sociology of Law' looks at law and legal systems as a part of society and also as social institutions related to other institutions and changing with them. It regards law as one means of social control. Hence law is often made to be related to a moral order, to a body off customs and ideas about society. From this point of view, sociology of law is itself related to jurisprudence. Still it is not like jurisprudence. Sociology of law requires an understanding of the system of law no doubt. But it is still wider in scope. It seeks "perceive the relationship of systems of law to other social sub systems like economy, the nature and distribution of authority, and the structure of family and kinship relationships". In Britain, some social anthropologists have examined the systems of law and courts in relatively simple societies and tried to determine their relationships to other aspects of social system.

The study of "Sociology of Law" is well known in Europe but not in America and Britain. In fact, sociologists have hardly turned their attention towards sociology of law in modern societies. Previously, Durkheim (through his classification of law into retributive and restitutive) and Max Weber (through his "Law in Economy and Society" - Translated work) had made some initial studies in the field. Austrian scholar E. Ehrlich published one of the most outstanding works on sociology of law in 1913 which was translated into English under the title "Fundamental Principles of the Sociology of Law" in 1936. Another famous work is that of Georges Gurvitch's 'Sociology of Law' 1942. Due to the work of some jurists in America considerable interest is now being shown to sociology of law. Due to this growing interest only a number of sociologists and lawyers have made a joint venture to produce an interesting work entitled "Sociology and the Law; New meanings for an old Profession" 1962.

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