Integrating Reciprocal Perspectives: On Georges Gurvitch’s Theory of Immediate Jural Experience
Canadian Journal of Law and Society, Vol. 16, No. 1, 2001
This paper suggests that many of Gurvitch's ideas, which were originally presented in an abstract fashion, are still highly pertinent to socio-legal analysis. They may be employed in empirical research in a revised form, which would make them receptive to operationalisation. To this end, I shall focus on some of the main theoretical ideas developed by Gurvitch, reinterpreting them critically and in the context of the socio-legal research of the last few decades. Then, I shall apply them to empirical data collected through various studies. The question prompting this examination is whether Gurvitch's theoretical insights could enhance our understanding of such data and thus open new avenues of socio-legal enquiry.
The study which follows is organised in four parts. Part One briefly discusses some of the central ideas in Gurvitch's sociology of law. Part Two reconstructs these ideas against the backdrop of the current concerns of socio-legal research. Part Three turns the focus of the discussion to the empirical relevance of Gurvitch's ideas. This is done critically, and by reference to the author's personal research experience and to some other empirical studies. Finally, Part Four summarises the results of this study.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 24
Keywords: Socio-legal theory, Sociology of Law, Empirical Research
JEL Classification: K1, K2, K3, K4
Date posted: March 5, 2011 ; Last revised: June 23, 2011