Blog Post Three
by marissaditoro on December 2, 2015 - 6:35pm
The benefits of studying law as a social science are wide and far reaching. If one believes that law and society are inseparable, then it would be both relevant and necessary to study law as a social science. Law cannot be looked at from one single viewpoint, to do so would be to see only one aspect of the law. The law is fluid, ever changing, and open to interpretation, much like the norms of society, so it is necessary to gain the best understanding of the law in order to fully grasp the concepts and functions of the law. Law is not black or white, but gray and so we need to study it accordingly. The legislation and statutes is what makes the law black and white, where the influence of society is what changes the law to gray. To leave out the social science aspect of law is to leave out a key component of seeing the true tone/ color/ shade of the law. Much of the understanding of how the law is interpreted would be lost without understanding that the changing nature of society has a great influence upon how the law is understood, formed, and decided. Interactions between individuals are what make up the law, violations of the law, and the resulting court process. Therefore, it would be ridiculous to assume understanding human behaviour and its connection to the law is unnecessary or irrelevant. Law is a human construction and so is governed by human interactions.
In order to approach the study of the law as an academic field, the many different aspects of the law must be taken into account. The law, its creation, implementation, and changing nature needs to be looked at logically, theoretically, and socially. One must first understand what the words themselves mean and take into account the time and place the law was made. For example, if the law is banning the use of a horse-drawn carriages on Main Street, you may want to take into account that the law was made in the 1700’s when horses and carriages were an important form of transportation. This law may no longer be relevant because the majority of people do not own or utilize horses and carriages for transportation, but the law still exists. In addition to understanding the law logically, the social science aspect needs to be applied. Questions that need to be asked include what the interpretation or meaning of the law was intended to be, how the law should be used, and how it applies to everyone within society.
One static interpretation of the law benefits no one in the end: if the law was meant to have one interpretation, the whole of society would be doomed. This would mean one interpretation for every single situation, no matter the difference, as long as the legislation is the same. A narrowness of interpretation creates a further narrowness in the mindset and attitude of society, which is detrimental in the long term. The law reflects views, beliefs, and attitudes of society, and society reflects the law (if it is accepted as having authority and holding importance). Therefore, it is very important to understand all that can be understood about the law to understand more about how society functions, and in turn, individuals of society.</p>