Law and Society: A Sociological View

Law and Society: A Sociological View

Law and Society: A Sociological View

Law and Society: A Sociological View

Excerpt

In modern industrial societies, systems of law have become so far-reaching that we find legal rules and procedures permeating all realms of social behavior. To recognize this situation, it is first necessary to cast aside the popular misconception of law that limits it to the control of criminal behavior (a belief undoubtedly nurtured and reinforced by the treatment of legal matters in the media of mass communication). Once we pass this roadblock, there is little difficulty in appreciating at least the social pervasiveness, and perhaps also the social significance, of law. A man's ownership or use of property both real and personal, his relations with his wife and children, his relations with employers or employees and the conditions and security of his job, his rights and duties in his interaction with the numerous other individuals and organizations that shape his network of social relations--all these aspects of his everyday living are governed by or subject to existing or potential rulings of the legal system.

Some of these rulings have been or will be expressed in the form of specific statutory provisions, others in the form of judicial holdings or dicta (statements by the court not necessarily required . . .

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