Chapter 1 - Law Justice and Society Law A Sociolegal...

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Law, Justice, and Society: Law, Justice, and Society: A Sociolegal Introduction A Sociolegal Introduction Chapter 1 Law: Its Function and Purpose
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Law: Its Function and Purpose Law: Its Function and Purpose In the making of the human world, nothing has been more important than what we call law. Law is the intermediary between human power and human ideas. Law transforms our national power into social power, transforms our self-interest into social interest, and transforms social interest into self-interest. Allott (2001,19)
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The Importance of Law The Importance of Law “Let reverence for the laws, be breathed by every American mother, to the lisping babe, that prattles on her lap—let it be taught in schools, in seminaries, and in colleges; let it be written in Primers, spelling books, and in Almanacs;—let it be preached from the pulpit, proclaimed in legislative halls, and enforced in courts of justice. And, in short, let it become the political religion of the nation; and let the old and the young, the rich and the poor, the grave and the gay, of all sexes and tongues, and colors and conditions, sacrifice unceasingly upon its altars” (Basler 2007, 6) Abraham Lincoln,1838
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Law: Its Function and Purpose Law: Its Function and Purpose Written body of general rules of conduct Applicable to all members of community, society, or culture Emanate from a governing authority Enforced by its agents by imposition of penalties for violations Binds people of a common culture What Is Law?
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Law: Its Function and Purpose Law: Its Function and Purpose Culture is the totality of learned socially transmitted behaviors, ideas, values, customs, artifacts, and technology of groups of people 6 elements are beliefs, values, norms, symbols, technology, and language What are these elements, and how do they relate to law? Six Elements of Culture
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Law: Its Function and Purpose Law: Its Function and Purpose Ideas about how the world operates What is true and what is false Can be about tangible phenomena (empirical knowledge) Can be about intangible phenomena (religion, philosophy) Beliefs
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Law: Its Function and Purpose Law: Its Function and Purpose Laws are enacted to support deeply held beliefs As beliefs change, so do the laws which support them change Prescientific Astronomy Slavery Beliefs (cont.)
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Law: Its Function and Purpose Law: Its Function and Purpose Normative standards about what is good and bad, correct and incorrect, moral and immoral, normal and deviant More general and abstract than beliefs American values are transplanted and modified Western European values Values
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Law: Its Function and Purpose Law: Its Function and Purpose Can be either general or more specific Examples of general, “core”, values: the Golden Rule, justice, equality, liberty, and the sanctity of life Examples of more specific values: achievement and success, individualism, progress, self-reliance, and hard work Values (cont.)
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Chapter 1 - Law Justice and Society Law A Sociolegal...

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