Ch3 PP1 Using Social Science to Understand Law (Law in Society & Social Science) Lecture Notes (

Ch3 PP1 Using Social Science to Understand Law (Law in Society & Social Science) Lecture Notes (

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Ch 3 Law in Society and Social Science Chapter 3: Using Social Science to Understand Law PP1 Law in Society and Social Science Law and Society Law can be viewed as independent of society and culture (e.g., the position of some lawyers) Suggests that law is separate from society, which may be useful for some purposes: E.g., To understand the written (black letter) law E.g., To support the advancement of the legal profession Analogy from Language Language provides a good analogy to the Law in Society perspective Language can be viewed as independent of society and culture Language also can be viewed as a variable that interacts with other societal variables E.g., Language is part of the social context and the broader culture Similarly, law can be viewed as independent of society or as interacting with it Law in Society Thus, law can be viewed as a variable that interacts with other variables (e.g., the social context, the broader culture) This view suggests that law is a part of the society in which it operates So how does this interaction between Law and Society occur? E.g., Law can bring about social change Civil Rights Act changed our social structure and social processes E.g., Law can help to change attitudes E.g., The American with Disabilities Act changed many Americans’ attitudes to persons with mental or physical disabilities So how can Society affect the Law? Changes in law can come about because of: E.g., Opposition to social inequality E.g., Changes in attitudes, expectations, and values E.g., Unacceptability of sexual harassment in the workplace 1
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Ch 3 Law in Society and Social Science E.g., Needs and goals of groups of people and organizations Law and Society versus Law in Society Yield Very Different Perspectives on the Law Consider the impeachment trial of President Clinton from the two perspectives Law and Society: Focuses on what the U.S. Constitution specifies regarding impeachment Once the House of Representatives votes to impeach on one or more "articles of referral" (offenses), the Senate is required to hold a trial Need 2/3 majority of senators to convict, which automatically results in the President being removed from office Law in Society: Focuses on the social and cultural processes that affect the impeachment process and decision E.g., Political power E.g., Social notions of justice Both Perspectives are Important We need the Law and Society approach to understand law as a formal self governing system of rules We need the Law in Society approach in order to appreciate that the way the law operates involves behavioral and social processes that reflect the behaviors of legal actors, nonlegal actors, and components of society more broadly So what is Society? Society is a combination of:
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Ch3 PP1 Using Social Science to Understand Law (Law in Society & Social Science) Lecture Notes (

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