jurisprudence(redirected from jurisprudences)
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See J. Hall, ed., Readings in Jurisprudence (1938); W. S. Carpenter, Foundations of Modern Jurisprudence (1958); D. Lloyd, Introduction to Jurisprudence (3d ed. 1972).
jurisprudencelegal and sociological theories which seek to situate the body of laws and legal institutions in an overall social context. Thus, jurisprudence to some extent overlaps with the SOCIOLOGY OF LAW.
Historically, it is possible to identify the following subdivisions of jurisprudence:
- legal positivism, e.g. Kelsen's conception of law as an objectively statable, hierarchical system of norms, or Hart's view of law as resting on ‘basic norms’. This view of law has been seen as ‘in tune’ with traditional legal professionalism, and viewed by its practitioners as involving theories requiring little input from social science. Jeremy BENTHAM's application of utilitarianism to legal reform can also be seen as a form of legal positivism;
- natural law theories (see NATURAL RIGHTS AND NATURAL LAW), theories which were a main target of the legal positivists;
- historical and evolutionary theories, e.g. MAINE's theories, and Savigny's account of laws as reflecting the custom or Volkgeist of a nation or people;
- conflict theories, theories which emphasize the conflicts of interest underlying the formation and social control functions of legal systems, e.g. Roscoe Pound's ‘pluralism’;
- legal realism, US approaches influenced by PRAGMATISM, which emphasized the social basis, and fluid, ‘living character’ of law.
All of the above approaches have exerted an influence on the sociology of law, but a recent resurgence of sociolegal studies has owed much to a new vein of empirical sociological studies of legal systems and he operation of the law.