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THEORIES OF LAW AND SOCIETY

The preceding section dealt with general types of legal systems as they correspond to various stages of modernization and social development. The present section addresses two questions emerging from the previous discussion: Why did changes in the legal system take place? And what factors contributed to legal development from a historical perspective?

In attempting to answer these questions, we can distinguish two general issues. The first issue concerns legal development in any society, while the second issue concerns forces that produce or inhibit change in the legal system.

Theorists of law and society have long been preoccupied with efforts to describe the broad historical course of legal development and to analyze the factors that influence legal systems. The investigation of legal development has traditionally been the concern of scholars in a variety of fields. We make no attempt here to provide a comprehensive and systematic review of principal theories and schools but do consider several prominent theorists.

Among the theorists to be presented, there is more or less general agreement that societal and legal complexities are interrelated. Beyond that, there is little consensus. The particular theorists differ as to detail and interpretation of the general relationship between legal change and social change. We hope that the following sample of theorists from various disciplines, historical periods, and countries will provide a better understanding of the diverse issues involved in the investigation of the multifaceted relations between law and other major institutions of society.

 
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