Academic journal article Journal of Politics and Law

Law: A Tool for Measuring Human Conduct and Socialization

Academic journal article Journal of Politics and Law

Law: A Tool for Measuring Human Conduct and Socialization

Article excerpt

Abstract

This article seeks to examine the meaning and content of law as perceived by some scholars to aid in the determination of whether the primary aim of law is to measure human conduct and facilitate socialization. Law is a phenomenon that has attracted several and diverse definitions from different schools of thoughts. As a social phenomenon its definition seems to be dependent and influenced by the socio-cultural experiences of the relevant proponent and thus subjective. This article critically examines various definitions of law, in a bid to unravel the true and proper meaning of law. It shows that law is not merely a tool for enforcing orders of the state or a superior being but primarily a tool for measuring human conduct and socialization.

Keywords: law, socialization, theories of law

1. Introduction

This article seeks to unravel the true meaning and content of law as perceived by some scholars to aid in the determination of whether the primary aim of law is to measure human conduct and facilitate socialization. Law is a phenomenon that has attracted several and diverse definitions from different schools of thoughts as well as legal theorists. As a social phenomenon its definition seems to be dependent and influenced by the socio-cultural experiences of the relevant proponent. There have been several definitions of law propounded by scholars with various traditions, socio-economic backgrounds and belonging to various distinct schools of thoughts.

It appears these definitions and legal concepts are often influenced by such socialization process and historic backgrounds of the proponents. Existing definitions and content of law are thus subjective and clouded by individual personal experiences and observations of each legal theorist. The true meaning of law has to date been lost on both scholars and students of law as none of the propounded theories and definitions of law is devoid of personal experiences and historic development, thus failed to provide a holistic view of law. This article, thus critically examines various definitions of law, in a bid to unravel the true and proper meaning of law. It shows that there can be a true and generic meaning of law without any influence from historical developments and socio-cultural experiences. This article establishes that law is not merely a tool for enforcing orders of the state or a superior being but primarily a tool for measuring human conduct and socialization.

2. Law and the State

Law, however so described, either as a doctrine, concept, body of dogma, a theory or an instrument, has over decades been given so many meanings and descriptions. It appears to have so many facets and different variables serving several purposes and needs. Law is full of phraseologies obtained from the sphere of morality and by the strength of language, it has been conceived under different and several names without perceiving it, unless steps are taken to confound it (Holmes, 1997:993). The term 'law' has been defined as denoting governmental social control (Black, 1972), whilst the term government was expressed as a hierarchical organization that is widely regarded as having the legitimate authority to inflict detriments on persons, within its geographical jurisdiction and who have not voluntarily submitted themselves to its authority (Michelman, 1977). Black's (1972) definition of law appears to denote a controlling, compelling and sanctioning power of the state through legislations and regulations providing for the behavioral patterns of individuals and groups of society as well as a mechanism for sanctioning and compelling compliance in the event of a deviation.

The term government, as described by Michelman (1977) appears to limit the functionality of the state to a tool for the infliction of detriment through law. This definition, however, fails to recognize other compelling attributes of a government, such as representing an institution providing for the effective management of the business of a state. …

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