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Law as a Social Institution

By: Hamish Ross
Media of Law as a Social Institution
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Published: 05-06-2001
Format: Paperback
Edition: 1st
Extent: 144
ISBN: 9781841132310
Imprint: Hart Publishing
Series: Legal Theory Today
RRP: £22.99
Online price : £20.69
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About Law as a Social Institution

This book develops the rudiments of a sociological perspective on state law and legal theory. It outlines a distinctive approach to theoretical enquiry that offers an improved understanding of law as a social and institutional phenomenon. The book draws upon Max Weber's sociological and juristic writings as a context in which to explore themes arising or selectively developed from a critical reassessment of key aspects of H.L.A. Hart's theory of law. The discussion initially centres around three problematical areas or 'Gordian Knots': essentially weaknesses in the analytical nucleus of The Concept of Law,matters of misplaced emphasis and other elements that, it is argued, have obscured fundamental aspects of a perceived social reality. Using the critique as a point of departure the book explores key issues that Hart merely touched upon or seemingly passed over: the role of the (sociologically inclined) jurist, the defensibility of an 'institutional insider's' perspective, the institutional behavioural dimension of the legal world, and the relational and social power dynamics of law-affected human behaviour.

Table Of Contents

1 An Opportunity to Reflect
2 Max Weber's Science of Social Action
3 Hart's Nucleic Expository Theory
4 Three Gordian Knots
5 Perspectives Redefined
6 “Reductionism” Reassessed
7 Relationality Reconsidered
8 Towards a Critical Legal Positivism


“While Ross' project is primarily an outline of an interdisciplinary legal theory, it is no less fascinating for that. Moreover, there are many detailed discussions in which most any legal theorist, from any discipline, will find something worthwhile.” –  Brian Burge Hendrix, Canadian Journal of Law and Jurisprudence, Vol. XVI, No.2

“... an intriguing and curious work.Ross has written an interesting book. I think this is a good contribution to legal theory. ...well worth reading.” –  John H. Bogart, The Law and Politics Book Review

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