What is Sociology of Law and overview

Sociology of law can be explained as the study of law on society, such laws some of which are made by society itself and some which are made by the government.


A great sociologist Montesquieu described the laws made by different societies and compared them in accordance with geographical and social conditions of these societies.

sociology of law

One of the sociologists, Marxist scholar Karl Renner examines how changes in the economic structure of capitalist society changes and regulate property, contract, and succession, yet without necessarily altering the formulation of the legal norms themselves which thus come to obscure the significant social relationships of developed capitalism.

H.S Maine in his Ancient Law compared static and progressive societies and argued that civil laws are made considering the family as one unit and not the individual.

Emile Durkheim explained the concepts of repressive and restitutive law. The repressive law is such laws which are applied to whole society and hence on a single individual also, therefore make him responsible for society and thus impossible for him to get separated from society while a restitutive law is applied on a single individual and on his personal life thus separates an individual from society.

Hobhouse explains the responsibility of an individual towards the law and-and the influence of increasing class differentiation until recent times.

Moreover, theories of laws can be classified into two categories.

  • Juristic view:- view which defines it as the command of the sovereign or the dictates of the state
  • Sociological view:- view which defines law as the rules of right conduct

Today’s definition of the law states that laws are born from the bills which are passed in parliament and then with the majority of both the houses becomes a law. These laws are executed by executive action.

There are also such laws, which are made or constructed by a society for their members. Constitution lay no restriction on any religion. No society is restricted to make and enforce, within it, its law which it considers appropriate. For examples marriage should be done within the caste, no dowry must be given or taken and likewise other rules.

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