Reflections on the Methodological Issues of the Sociology of Law

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


The general focus of this paper is on the methodological limitations of the sociology of law in capturing the law’s ‘truth’ as its practitioners experience it. The paper starts with arguing that the law does not have a monolithic ‘truth’. Some aspects of its ‘truth’ are produced through its own recursively sealed operations, while its other aspects are generated with reference to empirically grounded knowledge, which potentially links the discourses of law and sociology. Notwithstanding this discursive kinship, the sociological studies of the law’s internal processes cause difficulties even to those scholars who are versed in substantive law. To expound this problem, the sociology of law is compared with medical sociology and attention is drawn to the way sociology copes with the ‘truth’ of medicine. The final part of the paper initiates a quest for possible solutions to the methodological problems of the sociology of law by placing them in the context of the ongoing conflicts and competitions of the field of science


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  • External Organization - Unknown
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Law and Society


  • Methodology, Sociology of Law, Sociology of Medicine, Socio-Legal Research, legal studies
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)273-295
JournalJournal of Law and Society
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2000
Publication categoryResearch
Externally publishedYes