Law and Sociology, Exploratory Essays

Law and Sociology, Exploratory Essays

Law and Sociology, Exploratory Essays

Law and Sociology, Exploratory Essays

Excerpt

Some concept of ordering human affairs by means of law seems to have been a part of almost every society of which we have records. While law has always dealt with conflicts and imperatives over the widest scale of human affairs, those concerned with the administration of the law -- the legal profession -- in the English-speaking countries tended to regard it during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries as a self-contained discipline whose rules, procedures, doctrines, and methods were to be applied to the other nonlegal "facts" of civilization. This tendency to consider law as a self-sufficient discipline has been breaking down in our century. Increasingly, law -- particularly as it emerges from legislatures and administrative agencies and as it concerns the profession -- involves specialized forms of knowledge hitherto not mastered by the law student, practitioner, or legal scholar. This knowledge is embraced increasingly within the concept of what it is that the profession is concerned with. It is not thought to be outside the ambit of the profession, nor is it considered a part of the nonlegal "facts" to which law as a self-sufficient discipline may be applied.

The growing demands on law to contribute to the preservation of world peace and to the alleviation of the growing pains of the world community of nations, perhaps more than any other development, make the adequacy of the frame of reference of the discipline a matter of public concern. For, unless law is viewed in a way to permit it optimum effectiveness in the task . . .

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