The Social Context of Law

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9780130413741: The Social Context of Law

This book offers an exceptionally straightforward explanation of the intertwining relationship between law and society--with emphasis on the relationship of social conditions, social ideas, and people to the creation, interpretation, and use of law. These three concepts are further used to illustrate how law is formulated in a cross-cultural context, as well as within the confines of gender, race and social class. The social context of law. The theoretical context of law. Cross-cultural context of law. Types of law. Systems of law. Practitioners of law. The purpose and usefulness of law. Gender, race, social class, and law. For anyone who desires an understanding of the significant bearing law has on contemporary life, and for those considering the legal professions, e.g., pre-law, paralegal, corrections, etc.

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This book offers an exceptionally straightforward explanation of the intertwining relationship between law and society--with emphasis on the relationship of social conditions, social ideas, and people to the creation, interpretation, and use of law. These three concepts are further used to illustrate how law is formulated in a cross-cultural context, as well as within the confines of gender, race and social class. THE SOCIAL CONTEXT OF LAW. THE THEORETICAL CONTEXT OF LAW. CROSS-CULTURAL CONTEXT OF LAW. TYPES OF LAW. SYSTEMS OF LAW. PRACTITIONERS OF LAW. THE PURPOSE AND USEFULNESS OF LAW. GENDER, RACE, SOCIAL CLASS, AND LAW. For anyone who desires an understanding of the significant bearing law has on contemporary life, and for those considering the legal professions, e.g., pre-law, paralegal, corrections, etc.

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We are structural sociologists. We believe in the tradition of sociology and the idea that the structure of society explains many patterns of social behavior and opportunities in society. This book elucidates for readers the importance of law on and in the structure of society. We emphasize the relationship between law and a set of entities: people, social conditions, and ideas. These realities, as we refer to them, are the variables that most clearly affect and define the social world within which we operate as social beings. The ongoing interplay between law and these realities places all of us in legal positions which we may like and/or dislike; yet the interplay is a dance in which we all participate, whether we realize it or not.

This book was written for undergraduate courses in disciplines such as sociology, criminology, and political science, and for individuals entertaining ideas about entering the legal professions. We include in this list prelaw, paralegal, corrections, and similar studies. But any reader who desires an understanding of the significant bearing law has on contemporary life may find it useful. We are not lawyers, but we do believe that an understanding of the intimate and affective role of law is important to our understanding of society.

We received significant support from a variety of sources, for this edition as well as the first. As always, we would like to thank Nancy Roberts of Prentice Hall. For the first edition, she gave us the time we needed to-put this project together, and we are grateful to her for that understanding. In addition to Nancy, Rob DeGeorge, our Production Editor, was very helpful and always available when we needed him. We were fortunate to have two able research assistants, Cori Barrera and Jan Cannata, whose work was funded by the Office of Research Administration at Boise State University. Kathleen Maguire, co-editor of the Sourcebook of Criminal justice Statistics, gave us useful and timely assistance with tables, data, and sources. We would also like to thank the following reviewers: Phillip W. Davis, Georgia State University; Ali Gheissari, University of California at San Diego; Steve B. McConnell, University of Toledo; and Eric Rise, University of Delaware. In addition, the following reviewers provided us with recommendations and insight for the second edition: Matt Lee, University of Delaware; Zoann K. Snyder, Western Michigan University; and Gloria A. Whittico, Hampton University. Mary Araneo and her colleagues from A & A Publishing Services, Inc., did an exceptional job in the copyediting and production of the second edition.

This second edition of The Social Context of Law expands on the idea that drove the first, that neither law nor society functions independently of the other. Further case studies and discussions of law as it affects American tribal members as well as persons under U.S. military jurisdiction are presented to illustrate the symbiotic relationship between the two. Data tables and graphs have been updated, where possible, with the most recent information available. Our intent, of course, is to make the information as accessible as possible, and to that end we have added an author. Mark Nicholas is a professional writer whose straightforward prose contributed to improving the readability of the text.

Once again, our thanks to our families and friends for their support and understanding during this process. We couldn't have done it without them. And finally to each other: Cheers!

S.J.G. , J.C.O., M.N.

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