Theory and Values in Socio-Legal Studies
21 Pages Posted: 15 Jul 2018 Last revised: 27 Oct 2018
Date Written: July 12, 2018
This paper argues that socio-legal studies (SLS) should engage with ultimate values, in Max Weber's sense, insofar as these influence law and social action linked to law. The paper sketches orientations in socio-legal research that have deterred concern with such values. It suggests a way to conceptualize values as a component of culture, and illustrates this by reference to aspects of the regulation of religious and ethnic minorities, on the one hand, and business and financial networks, on the other. Finally, it considers how SLS's commitment to science impacts on the study of values. It argues that empirically-grounded socio-legal theory can suggest why and how certain ultimate values come to seem meaningful and relevant in particular social conditions. As components of cultural experience, values relate to law in complex ways, and SLS can and should give more attention to this relation.
Keywords: Weber, socio-legal studies, law and culture, ultimate values, communal networks, cultural pluralism, business regulation, cultural closure, Durkheim
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