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Reflections on the sociology of law: a rejection of law as 'socially marginal'

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

Published

Journal publication date03/2009
JournalInternational Journal of Law, Crime and Justice
Journal number1-2
Volume37
Number of pages13
Pages51-63
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

Rejecting the concept of law as subservient to social pathology, the principle aim of this article is to locate law as a critical matter of social structure – and power – which requires to be considered as a central element in the construction of society and social institutions. As such, this article contends that wider jurisprudential notions such as legal procedure and procedural justice, and juridical power and discretion are cogent, robust normative social concerns (as much as they are legal concerns) that positively require consideration and representation in the empirical study of sociological phenomena. Reflecting upon scholarship and research evidence on legal procedure and decision-making, the article attempts to elucidate the inter-relationship between power, ‘the social’, and the operation of law. It concludes that law is not ‘socially marginal’ but socially, totally central.