chapter
67 Pages

Introduction

The Object and Problems of the Sociology of Law
WithGeorges Gurvitch, Alan Hunt

The alternative between exclusivism, whether sociological or jural, and the total separation of the spheres into two different worlds, has been overcome, as it had to be, by the development both of sociology and jurisprudence. The sociology of law constitutes no menace to sociology proper, but only to "naturalism, positivism, behaviorism and formalism" in sociology. Analytical jurisprudence has taken two forms, one narrow, related to continental "legal positivism", the other broader, identifying law with the totality of rules and principles applied by tribunals in making their decisions. The Anglo-Saxon system of law, however, as founded on the idea of the supremacy of the common law, is linked to "judicial empiricism" and oriented to the unwritten and flexible law, particularly case law and customary law. The sociology of law shows itself indispensable not only to the practical work of the jurist applying law to concrete cases, but also to jurisprudence or the systematic dogmatization of a peculiar system of law.