Classical Social Theory and Ideas of Responsibility and the State in France and Germany
Published in Comparative Law Review (Nicolaus Copernicus University, Toruń, Poland), vol. 15, 2013
24 Pages Posted: 27 Aug 2013 Last revised: 29 Oct 2018
Date Written: August 26, 2013
Social theory can aid comparative legal studies by revealing currents of social ideas in which law develops. A comparison of major contributions to French and German social theory between the mid-nineteenth and the early twentieth century presents striking contrasts in understandings of the nature of legal responsibility and the function of the state. It shows two different movements of thought: one elaborating a view of law mainly as a technology of government overseeing and coordinating individual interests; the other emphasising law's importance in nurturing social solidarity and facilitating collective responsibility.
Keywords: Comte, Von Stein, Tönnies, Weber, Gierke, solidarism, Durkheim, Duguit, individualism, collective responsibility, solidarity, functions of law, modern state
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