Sociology of law is defined as the sociological study of law and its phenomena. Law is generally perceived as the entire legal beliefs and norms in a given community as well as the institutions and practices relating to these norms. Referring to the classical perspectives of Max Weber and Emile Durkheim, sociology of law has significantly evolved in terms of intellectual capabilities in the legal structures, allowing a sociological jurisprudence to develop (Bottomore, 2017). Sociology of law studies human patterns and behaviors, and it vastly impacts on the ethic-legal beliefs and norms. Sociology of law derives its particular strategy from the practical and theoretical contours of sociology as a discipline. Jurisprudence, on the other hand, is defined as the legal framework and it studies the legal norms from an analytical, theoretical and historical perspective. An example of jurisprudence is the trial and court frameworks that are used to manage justice and law.
Emile Durkheim was vastly interested in how the division of labor affects the community. In his works, Durkheim attempts to access the roots of social solidarity in the community and how it evolves. According to Bowring (2016), determining the basis of social solidarity is Emile Durkheim’s first significant work and thus do not incorporate all the essential issues. However, his actions initialized the study of the community as an independent entity. According to Durkheim, there are two kinds of social solidary that is how the community sticks together and what links a person to the community. Mechanical solidarity is one of the two forms, and it characterizes the traditional communities, where the concept of division of labor is vastly limited. The other kind of social solidarity is organic solidarity which characterizes the modern societies where the division of labor is highly established.
Durkheim claims that the concept of division of labor itself establishes organic solidarity based on the society’s mutual needs. In both types of communities, people interact according to the set obligations to others and the community as a whole as well. By doing so, every person is recognized based on the contributions and rights inside the collectivity. Social morality is strictly essential for social solidarity to occur as without morals, communities cannot exist. Both societies, therefore, seek to address criminal justice issues differently. For the society with mechanical solidarity, the community size is small and is mainly based in rural regions, where the division of labor is limited or straightforward based on sex and age (Bottomore, 2017). The individuals in this society know each other well, and thus the society is characterized by the concept of likeness. The legal structure, therefore, tend to be penal or repressive law for instance if there is a crime in the community, it is perceived as an offense to the recognized morality and severe punishment is dictated, regardless of the seriousness of the offense.
For the organic society, the collective morality and consciousness decline with the highly established concept of division of labor. Bowring (2016) postulates that every person, therefore, begins to engage in different tasks and this results in varying experiences for each person. These experiences result in a personal morality or consciousness that substantially emphasizes a person’s distinctiveness. The modern law frameworks are therefore restorative and mainly entail judgments that require offenders to restore the original situations. Generally, the replacement of the repressive structures with corrective law vastly relates to a society’s degree of development. The higher the degree, the greater the restorative laws in the judicial frameworks.
Bottomore, T. (2017). Socialism and the Division of Labour. In Routledge Revivals: The Concept
of Socialism (1975) (pp. 154-166). Routledge.
Bowring, F. (2016). The individual and society in Durkheim: Unpicking the contradictions.
European Journal of Social Theory, 19(1), 21-38.