Legal sociology

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The sociology of law is one of the very basic scientific subjects and examined the interactions between the legal and social reality. It deals on the one hand with the influence of social conditions on the legal system , on the other hand with the influence of legal and other norms on social reality.

Legal sociology as a scientific discipline

In contrast to law , the sociology of law sees itself as an empirical science and uses the methods of empirical social research to review its theoretical theses . With regard to the subject of its investigation, it takes note of the legal system as well as the existence of other social structures. Essential research problems arise from the distinction between social and legal norms and the factual two-stemmed origin of the legal system, which is apparently only partially due to social norms. In contrast to dogmatic jurisprudence, legal sociology understands law as a phenomenon of social reality that is constructed by social behavior patterns and contexts, stabilizes or changes existing power and domination relationships.

The social sciences found their way into law studies in various places in the 1970s, also because the political control of society was thematized by law. Some universities tried social science training as a lawyer, which, however, was unable to prevail against the classic model of the dogmatically trained lawyer. The institutional connection of the sociology of law as a (supposed) borderline science was and still is little guaranteed. At German universities, legal sociology is traditionally anchored in the legal and not in the social science departments. The area of ​​tension between law and society has a comparatively greater significance in the Anglo-American academic discussion ( Law and Society movement). The International Institute for the Sociology of Law has existed since 1989 .


The legal fact research examined, for example, the decision-making processes in the legal institutions such as courts or parliaments, the decision-making process in the legal profession organizations such. B. the bar associations or the German Lawyers Association , university law including literature and, in a broader sense, the processes in the legal society as a community of all active lawyers and legal employees.

Cognitive interest

Classical legal sociology moves between two paradigms : "sociological jurisprudence" and disciplinary sociological analysis, the "sociology of law".

Sociological jurisprudence is still mainly associated with the Austrian legal sociologist Eugen Ehrlich (1862–1922). It is the attempt to arrive at a better law by knowing the connections between law and society. In contrast, the sociology of law sees itself as a subcategory of general sociology , which examines “law” as a social phenomenon; The German sociologist and economist Max Weber (1864–1920) stands for them .

Today, research on the interactions between law and society goes beyond classic sociological approaches. “Legal sociology” is understood by many in the sense of Anglo-American law and society research or socio-legal studies as a non-disciplinary (transdisciplinary) project that encompasses the entire spectrum of social legal research. This is based on the knowledge that disciplinary research approaches that understand law as a social phenomenon or investigate the connection between law and society are necessarily contingent, mutually enrich one another in their pluralism and often lead to a change or expansion of one's “own” subject Contribute to the field of vision.

Research on legal reality in this sense (socio-legal research) includes, in addition to the classic sociological and empirical approaches , legal anthropology , legal ethnology , cultural studies , gender studies , economics , political science , social history , social psychology and administrative science .

There is a close relationship between legal sociology and legal theory or philosophy .

See also


Primary literature

  • Eugen Ehrlich : Foundation of the Sociology of Law . Duncker & Humblot, Munich, Leipzig 1913 ( - digitized version of the first edition in the Internet Archive ; 4th edition, 1989, series of publications on legal sociology and legal factual research, volume 69, reviewed and edited by Manfred Rehbinder , Duncker & Humblot, Berlin 1989, ISBN 978-3-428-06689-6 ).
  • Theodor Geiger : preliminary studies for a sociology of law . Univ.-Forlag, Aarhus 1947.
  • Niklas Luhmann : Legal Sociology . 4th edition. VS Verlag für Sozialwissenschaften, Wiesbaden 2008, ISBN 978-3-531-15872-3 .
  • Niklas Luhmann: The law of society . Suhrkamp, ​​Frankfurt am Main 1993, ISBN 978-3-518-58150-6 .
  • Max Weber : Sociology of Law . Ed .: Johannes Winckelmann (=  sociological texts . No. 2 ). Luchterhand, Neuwied 1960.


Feminist Law

  • Susanne Baer : Legal Sociology: An Introduction to Interdisciplinary Legal Research. 3. Edition. Baden-Baden 2016.
  • Doris Lucke : Right without gender? On a legal sociology of gender relations , Centaurus-Verl.-Ges., Pfaffenweiler 1996.

Materialistic approaches

  • Sonja Buckel : Subjectivation and Cohesion: On the Reconstruction of a Materialistic Theory of Law , Weilerswist: Velbrück, 2nd edition 2015
  • Eugen Paschukanis : General Legal Doctrine and Marxism: Attempt to Critique Basic Legal Concepts , Freiburg: ça ira, 2003


  • Vilhelm Aubert : Some social functions of the legislation , in: Ernst E. Hirsch / Manfred Rehbinder (Ed.): Studies and materials for legal sociology , 1967, pp. 284-309.
  • R. Banakar: Law Through Sociology's Looking Glass: Conflict and Competition in Sociological Studies of Law , in: Ann Denis, Devorah Kalekin-Fishman (Eds.): The New ISA Handbook in Contemporary International Sociology: Conflict, Competition, and Cooperation. Sage, 2009. ( Online ).
  • Gralf-Peter Calliess , Andreas Fischer-Lescano , Dan Wielsch / Peer Zumbansen (eds.): Sociological Jurisprudence. Festschrift for Gunther Teubner on his 65th birthday on April 30, 2009 , Berlin 2009, 933 pages.
  • Roger Cotterrell (1988): Why Must Legal Ideas Be Interpreted Sociologically? , in: Journal of Law and Society 25 (2), pp. 171-192.
  • Mathieu Deflem: Sociology of Law. Visions of a Scholarly Tradition , Cambridge University Press, 2008.
  • Hans Albrecht Hesse: Introduction to the sociology of law , VS-Verlag, Wiesbaden 2004, ISBN 3-531-14260-7 .
  • Roscoe Pound: Law in the Books and Law in Action , in: American Law Review, Vol. 44, 1910, pp. 12 ff.
  • Alain Supiot : Homo Juridicus. Essai sur la fonction anthropologique du droit , Editions du Seuil, Paris 2005, ISBN 2-02-067636-2 .
  • Robin West, Caring for Justice , New York University Press, New York 1999.

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. a b Paul Trappe: The legitimate research areas of legal sociology. In: Theodor Geiger: preliminary studies for a sociology of law. With an introduction and an international bibliography on the sociology of law by Paul Trappe. Luchterhand Neuwied am Rhein 1964. (first: Copenhagen 1947). P. 15.
  2. Reinhold Zippelius : Basic Concepts of Legal and State Sociology , 3rd edition 2012, §§ 11 f.
  3. Reinhold Zippelius, Basic Concepts of Legal and State Sociology , 3rd edition 2012, §§ 6 ff.
  4. ^ Theodor Geiger: preliminary studies for a sociology of law. With an introduction and an international bibliography on the sociology of law by Paul Trappe. Luchterhand Neuwied am Rhein 1964. (first: Copenhagen 1947). P. 44.