Law as an Instrument of Social Change

1546 WordsDec 28, 20107 Pages
INTRODUCTION For decades now law and society theorists have been preoccupied with attempts to explain the relationship between legal and social change in the context of development of legal institutions. They viewed the law both as an independent and dependent variable (cause and effect) in society and emphasized the interdependence of the law with other social systems. In its most concrete sense, social change means large numbers of people are engaging in group activities and relationships that are different from those in which they or their parents engaged in previously. Thus, social change means modifications in the way people work, rear a family, educate their children, govern themselves, and seek ultimate meaning in life. There…show more content…
ADVANTAGES OF LAW IN CREATING SOCIAL CHANGE The advantages of law as an instrument of social change are attributed to the fact that law in society is seen as legitimate, more or less rational, authoritative, institutionalized, generally not disruptive, and backed by mechanisms of enforcement.4 LIMITATIONS OF LAW IN CREATING SOCIAL CHANGE To most people law is imposed externally in an almost coercive way. Today people are characterized by a “crisis of confidence” and alienation from social institutions because of uncontrollable economic conditions. Therefore, law is hardly an expression of their will. Few people participate in the formulation of laws and legislation. One of limitations of law as an instrument of social change is the possibility of prevailing conflict of interest. Other limitations related to the efficacy of law in social change include divergent views on law and the prevailing morality and values. The scarcity of resources causes conflicting interests. Decades ago, Karl Marx and Max Weber said that many laws are created to protect special economic interests. This is because economic interests are strong factors influencing the creation of laws. Weber recognized that besides economic interests law protects other interests too such as personal security, personal honor, and it guarantees political and other positions of authority and social preeminence. RESISTANCE TO CHANGE In most cases laws face resistance by members of society who find
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