Blog Post 3
by corr on December 2, 2015 - 7:51pm
The benefit of studying law as a social science is to see how it relates to society as a whole. That means one studying it can see how a change in the law can effect society and vice versa, since they are very influential to each other. Studying law as a social science can help determine why laws change, by looking at the society that the law is operating in. For example, laws concerning CO₂ emissions for factories have become much stricter on how much pollution that can be dumped into the atmosphere. This has changed due to the rising awareness of the effect of greenhouse gases on the environment in society. If society didn’t care about the environment, then the chance of the law becoming stricter is quite small. Also studying law as a social science tries to determine why people in society follow the law. Knowing why people follow the law, would help in the implementation of the law. On the other hand this same approach can, perhaps, be used to see people break the law, which is much more important. If people in a society tend to break a certain rule it can help both sides, telling us something about society and law. It shows that society disagrees and undermines the law on the issue on the social side, and from this maybe the law could be changed to follow society or the law must determine a better way to enforce the law in question.
The way to study law as an academic field is to study society with it. Without a society, law is nothing. Law needs society to function. Therefore it would be foolish, for lack of a better word, to try and study law without including society. Society is always changing, and this change forces the law to change with it. If one is focusing just on law, without society, there is no explanation for the change in many laws. I see it almost like looking through a spyglass. If you are looking at law through the spyglass, you get a detailed look, but you’re blinded to the big picture. The big picture in this case is society and the effect it has on law. Also the purpose of the law, in part, is to regulate behaviour of the society. I this aspect it is impossible to study it as a standalone field without taking in consideration of the society of which it is operating in. Also, law differs from each society it operates in. The law in Canada isn’t the same that operates in different countries. This is due to the differences in the society and its values and beliefs. In this way society helps to define what the law enforces and covers, so to understand the law, one must also look to the influencing society.
Law and society are linked together by the implementation and how the law works. Neither can function without the other, so they must be studied together to gain an understanding of one or the other.