Chapter

Introduction—Explaining Law’s Power

Roger Cotterrell

in Law's Community

Published in print February 1997 | ISBN: 9780198264903
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191682858 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198264903.003.0001

Series: Oxford Socio-Legal Studies

Introduction—Explaining Law’s Power

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This book illustrates a particular approach to theoretical analysis of the nature of contemporary law, with emphasis on the relationships between law and sociology. Central to this approach is the claim that the study of law needs to be rooted in empirical analyses of the social conditions in which legal ideas are formed and used, and which underpin their moral significance, determine their authority or legitimacy, inform the regulatory demands made of them, and provide the sources of their power to regulate and control. Legal theory with this orientation is tasked to develop systematic explanations of the general nature of legal phenomena. This book recognises that law's significance as a social phenomenon is determined by its character as one aspect of social life; a certain focus of governmental problems and practices, as well as interpretations of social relationships and social change. Law in its broadest sociological sense is a field of experience shaped and structured by problems of government, social control, and social order.

Keywords: law; power; legal theory; social conditions; social order; social control; legitimacy; sociology; government

Chapter.  7546 words. 

Subjects: Jurisprudence and Philosophy of Law

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