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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.
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