Blog Post #3
by kayleighharnden on December 2, 2015 - 9:47pm
Studying law as a social science has many benefits. Since a social science is the scientific study of society and their social relationships, this would make sense as to why and how our semester material involved a lot of society, and how law interacts with it. There are many benefits from studying law as a social science, some being that a lot of the information is taken from numerous other academic fields, such as a psychology, and sociology. A lot of law when it comes to it being a social science, also focuses more on the how and why does someone does certain things, or does not do certain things. While social sciences have to do with theories and different points of views on things, law as a social science is important because you learn about where something came from, as well as why.
The social norms that studying law as a social science enforces are one of the many benefits. A social norm is considered the rules of behaviours or the way you act that are acceptable in a social setting. Some examples of social norms that law as a social science enforces are why we chose to or chose not to obey the law, and the consequences if you do not obey the law. Everyone knows it is a social norm to abide by the speed limit, or to not steal because we are conditioned from a very young age that it is not right to do these things. Since this obeying the law is enforced through punishment and consequences, it becomes a social norm to listen and follow the laws. It may also become a social norm to not follow the laws either due to socialization of one’s peers. If one person’s friend shows that it is alright to steal, or to run a red light, that person is going to start to believe that it is ok to do that. Therefore, studying law as a social science provides different reasons as to why people of a society agree, or disagree with certain laws.
Another benefit of studying law as a social science is different points of views and theories that come along with it. For example, when asking the question, “does the law treat everyone equally?” there are many theories that are brought up along with it. With the critical race theory saying how laws are constructed around, and reflect the reality of a privileged, elite, white, male majority, as well as the idea of neutrality disguises racist practices and then perpetuates them, it really can get one thinking about how the law is really structured, and how it is carried out. There are also the different reasons as to why people obey the law. It could be because of gratitude, where people agree to obey to the law because of something in return is expected, fair play, where obeying the law is the price to pay for benefits of security, order, and justice, or associative obligation, where as members of a community, we are under an obligation to comply with the norms that govern it.
Whether the benefits of studying law as a social science has to do with the social norms that comes with it, being able to learn the different theories or perspectives about it, or how it relates more to how society is structured and how it effects society’s actions, they are all very important. Without law itself, there would not be any government, structure, or laws for people. Without law as a social science, there would not be the connections between law and society or how society is understood when it comes to the different aspects of law.