Maine HenryJames Sumner

Maine HenryJames Sumner

(1822-88) social philosopher and jurist best remembered for his Ancient Law (1861), which approaches the problem of social development in terms of the way in which legal systems evolved (see EVOLUTIONARY THEORY). The basic elements of Maine's understanding of SOCIAL CHANGE involve the development or evolution of societies based on kinship, family relationships, communal ownership, relations of status and political despotism to those based on territory, citizenship, private property, relations of contract and liberty Maine's point was that legal terms could only be fully understood within a framework of social change.

The status/contract dichotomy was a variant of many attempts to conceptualize the evolutionary distinction between ‘traditional and ‘modern’ society. Related formulations have come from SPENCER (MILITANT AND INDUSTRIAL SOCIETY), DURKHEIM (MECHANICAL AND ORGANIC SOLIDARITY), TÖNNIES (GEMEINSCHAFT AND GESELLSCHAFT), Robert M. MacIver (COMMUNITY AND ASSOCIATION) and Robert Redfield (RURAL-URBAN CONTINUUM).

Full browser ?