Legal sociology


The sociology is a very important science that deals with studying everything related to the life of man in society and social groups that comprise it . In the field of law , there is a type of sociology, legal , a branch of sociology that is responsible for studying all those phenomena of a legal nature that are also closely related to society. It is mostly known by the name of legal sociology .

What is legal sociology?

The legal sociology or sociology of law is the study of the law from the social point of view including a number of social sciences , including anthropology, economics, social psychology and sociology among others.

  • What does it consist of
  • Characteristics of legal sociology
  • Story
  • What do you study
  • goals
  • Functions of legal sociology
  • Currents
  • Representatives
  • Books
  • Relationship with the law
  • Importance of legal sociology
  • Examples

What does it consist of

The sociology legal or law is a broad legal field and scientist proposes conducting a study of such science through which you can analyze and study the variations that occur within the human society and its inhabitants. It consists of a way of being able to observe in detail the processes and dynamics that are present in sociability human being helping to understand how society really acts, to understand the world and to know the capacity of the human being to relate as individuals and as part of a group.


Characteristics of legal sociology

Some of the main characteristics of legal sociology are mentioned below:

  • It is a science that is characterized by focusing on all the different forms of processes of social order.
  • It rejects the primacy of the State as the sole source of law.
  • Carry out research and analysis on the relationships that exist between law and society .
  • His sociological approach goes back to classical social theory.
  • It is based on a group of disciplines related to the social sciences .
  • It is considered as a relatively autonomous branch of sociology .
  • It draws its approach from the theory and methodology of the sociological discipline .


It is important to remember that law is one of the most important aspects that are part of a human society, and for this reason it has been analyzed and studied for many centuries, first as a legal science and currently as a social science. Many experts consider that legal sociology dates back to some old classics by Emile Durkheim and Max Weber , which evolved over time.

It was at the beginning of the 20th century when the controversy arose and experts began to analyze whether law was only a normative science or if it was also a social science .

At the end of the 19th century , critical jurists were already beginning to introduce social aspects in the field of law, and at the beginning of the 20th century , the social aspect was an important part of law. It was taken more into account that in order to understand the law and legal norms it was also necessary to understand the social reality of those norms that were written on paper.

This is how jurists began to analyze the best way to introduce methods and routes that included the social sciences in order to expand the legal studies that were already traditional. It was at this stage that it was understood that the law had to be understood internally sociologically, as it was also a social science.

What do you study

This type of sociology is in charge of studying all the social conditions that exist prior to the enactment of a law . It also analyzes the justice system of a place and all the effects that it can produce within society, in other words, it studies the relationships that exist between law and society .


Its main objectives are related to the discovery of laws and causes that explain why these laws are born. Its objective is also to be able to analyze and understand the way in which different legal systems as well as legal institutions develop within a social framework.

Functions of legal sociology

Among the main functions of legal sociology we can find the following:

  • Study the dependency that exists between life in society and practical and theoretical law .
  • To be able to determine the statement that says that a legal phenomenon is a social fact.
  • It is responsible for studying and analyzing the beginnings of law as the result of a series of social processes .
  • Understand the law as a norm and as a way to exercise social control.
  • Make the differentiation between the legal organization and social institutions .
  • Analyze and study the basic notions of private and public law .
  • Study all the changes that the law can face.


One of the main currents is the systematic sociology of law, which is responsible for studying law as a purely social phenomenon, the way in which law acts and has an important function in society and the relationships it has with other phenomena social .

The differential sociology of law is another of the currents and in it the law is studied according to the states and that give rise to regional or national legal systems depending on the characteristics of a country or region. Finally, we can find the genetic sociology of law, whose main objective is to be able to analyze all the transformations that occur in the legal phenomenon.


The main representatives of legal sociology are Max Weber, Emile Durkheim, Karl Marx, Rudolph Von Ihering, Georges Gurvitch, Renato Treves and Jean Carbonnier .


In the following books it is possible to find important information related to legal sociology.

  • Sociology of Law by Ramón Soriano
  • Sociology of Law by Gregorio Robles
  • Legal Sociology of Jean Carbonnier
  • Vicenzo Ferrari Law and Society
  • Treaty of Sociology of Law by Pedro Pablo Hernández

Relationship with the law

The relationship between sociology and law has existed for many years and is also closely linked because on many occasions, what happens in society can affect the laws and vice versa. Experts consider that society and the behavior of man when he lives in groups are aspects that must be taken into account for the creation of laws and for the application of the jurisdiction that exists in a given place.

Importance of legal sociology

The legal sociology is very important because it serves to develop a number of different diagnoses related to the way in which it behaves one society from the point of view of the legal behavior , thus you can get more information before making decisions related to the direction that the reform of the law should take or the way in which the legal institutions should be perfected . It is a science that has the ability to guide the legal phenomenon within a specific society


Some examples of the fields where legal sociology can be observed are the following:

  • Judicial systems or systems of a legal nature.
  • Legal pluralism .
  • World globalization .
  • Multiculturalism.
  • In the different functions of a social nature that occur within the branch of law.
  • The change in society.

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