Sociology of Law
Forskningsoutput: Tidskriftsbidrag › Artikel i vetenskaplig tidskrift
Many of the original sociological premises, concepts and ideas regarding social action, legal change and social reform were initially formulated by studying conditions specific to Western industrial societies. The socio-cultural consequences of globalisation over the last three decades have, however, affected the relationship between state, law and society, blurred sharply drawn distinctions between the West and the rest of the world and transformed the socio-cultural setting within which legal regulation is devised and social reform planned. This paper asks to what extent socio-legal research has reconsidered its theoretical premises regarding the relationship between law, state and society to grasp the new social and cultural forms of organisation specific to global societies of the 21st century. This objective is pursued in four parts. Part One sketches the intellectual origins of SL and describes its scope and paradigmatic openness. Part Two presents SL partly in relation to social sciences and partly in relation to law and legal studies, briefly examining some of the central debates within the field. Part Three draws attention to the asynchronous development of SL across various countries, asking why the main body of socio-legal research continues to be produced in Western countries. This part considers various factors which might cause this imbalance and also asks if socio-legal theories that are born out of studies of Western industrialised societies are suitable for examining law and social order in non-Western contexts. Part Four concludes the paper by arguing that the socio-cultural consequences of globalisation erode the traditional boundaries of law and legal systems, hybridise legal cultures and create new conditions for legal regulation.