Sociology and the law
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Sociology and The Law. What is Law?. A system of rules and guidelines created and enforced by a common authoritative power. Laws are meant to control or change behavior.

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Sociology and The Law

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Sociology and The Law

What is Law?

  • A system of rules and guidelines created and enforced by a common authoritative power.

  • Laws are meant to control or change behavior.

  • Laws are meant to improve the overall welfare of the general population, while also sustaining the society which created them.

  • Common laws help to settle disputes, ensure safety, and provide an overall structure to the society that creates them.


  • Functionalists mainly study how crime relates to law, and believe that it is a necessary part of a society.

  • Crime provides career opportunities for many people (ex: Police, Lawyers, Jail Wardens, Court Workers)

  • Crime can drive social change, such as in the case of a rising number of juvenile violence cases, possibly providing the creation of new programs to put emphasis on parenting skills, school security, or systematic counselor visits.

  • If there is too much crime, society is not in a state of well-being, possibly prompting a revolution. After there is new power, new laws would be put in place that society can agree with.


  • Conflict theorists believe that crime is the act of social and economic forces working with each other.

  • The criminal justice system is run for profit by the rich and elite, creating laws that benefit the upper class. (ex: Petty crimes sentenced severely, whereas large scale financial and organizational crimes are treated more leniently.)

  • Middle class citizens tend to side with these changes subconsciously hoping that one day they will reap these benefits.

  • The victims of the criminal justice system are the lower class, having legal rights diminished or ignored.


  • There are certain commonly held beliefs on human rights, dictated by the United Nations. (ex: Genocide, Privacy, Disability, Youth Violence)

  • World powers come together to discuss the carrying out of international law, usually leading to conflicting opinions.

  • Should we be the World Police? Should we dictate what is moral without respect to custom and tradition?

  • Should we focus solely on our nation? Should we solve our internal issues before pursuing the welfare of other countries?










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