Decades ago, Göran Therborn wrote a magnificent book, Science, Class and Society (original 1976) on the relationship between the disciplines of the social sciences, and showed that the sociology -since its inception – you could analyze as the study of the community rules. Or at least, that this was an object that had been appropriate to the discipline and that it had been an important part of the work of which we are still calling the founding fathers. Although the emphasis in the regulation has varied over time, yes it is true that it is a basic part of the discipline.
The above is only to raise the strangeness by the fact that the law, instead of a norm strong on the social life, has lost a place in sociology over time. In particular, it is not difficult to find sociologists who have a very low knowledge of the law. Which, by the way, can not be said for the classics. In the end, The Social Division of Labor is, for example, a study used as a basis for understanding the morphology of a social formation its legal documents. There is to say, in any case, the sociology German recent (Habermas and Luhmann in particular) yes you have given, finally, a relevant place. For example, simplifying much in Facticity and Validity (p 86-90 edition Trotta) Habermas argues that what makes the right is to integrate a society where communicative action alone can no longer do so, but so secure that not everything is under the mantle of the strategic interaction, in some ways it is the procedure through which the systems are not -if you want – completely autonomizados of the world of life.
This loss represents a loss of not less, because it is not only that the right is relevant socially, but the reflection is a legal represents a social theory applied. The distinctions and basic principles of law are of theoretical reflections on the social life -about their fundamental elements. At the same time, to the extent that is a reflection of a practice on herself, has to give an account of some basic elements of such practices: If the law is a social form of treatment of the conflicts, clearly has to reflect and act on the conflicts that are presented to him. In other words, the right can’t forget about basic features of social life, simply because those features are imposed through the conflicts that are presented to him.
To give two clear examples. That social life is not only relationships among individuals but also in relationships with things is something that a lot of sociological theory is you can forget or minimize, but civil codes have never been able to forget it. The fact that the individuals who participate in the social life of die is also many times not addressed, but the right can’t forget it (i.and successions are always a relevant issue). Moreover, some basic distinctions in the law (for example, between people and things) are basic distinctions of social life, and that in fact distinctions that a good part of the social theory used without thinking too much.
When we decided that the right is social theory, we are not proposing that the specific articles of specific laws, but the principles and bases of the right represent a theoretical reflection relevant. The specific laws are different applications (and which may be different) from those theoretical principles, and that’s why this entry is called right as a social theory applied.
To the extent that the right then is social theory ‘embodied’ in the social practice, their observation may be of high interest for other social sciences. Let’s think about the logics of different systems of law -regarded as a very concise and general, simplified almost to absurdity – and what they mean in theoretical terms in coordination. A legal system based on the ‘civil law’ coordinates decisions basing each one of them separately in a body of explicit legal. This is very similar to all theoretical traditions that think of social life as the application of rules. A system of ‘common law‘ is not associated with their decisions that way, but that each one of them associated with other specific decisions (the same type of relationship between actions that allows the traditions to be flexible in a way that no traditionalism ‘encoded’ may be). To use another example, Weber makes multiple references in Economy and Society (for example p 868-870 of the recent 2014 edition of FCE) to the justice of the cadi, in which -finally – every decision is ‘worth it’, with a very lax general principles (not derived from specific decisions or previous to encodings explicit set). This relationship of the action to general principles, but that cannot be reduced to explicit rules is a way of thinking that is also common to various intellectual traditions.
In other words, the major legal systems are associated to different ways of thinking about action, and its relationship with other actions. The law is not a field of study either, and not even a field of study particularly interesting due to their weight in society, is a field of study relevant because, to use an old phrase of Lévi-Strauss is ‘good to think’.