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Law in Classical Sociological Theory: Coercion, Ideology, and Change

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Abstract

This chapter examines the law-related writings of Marx, Durkheim, and Weber through the three common themes of coercion, ideology, and change, which correspond to the behavioral, normative, and temporal aspects of law as an object of sociological inquiry. Each theorist situates the three themes differently in their broader conceptual frameworks, privileging one of these aspects over the others. For Durkheim, law is an instance of social solidarity. For Weber, law is a legitimate form of domination or what he calls rational-legal authority. And, for Marx, law is a superstructure controlled by the ruling class that changes according to the economic base. Despite these differences, each author has made fundamental contributions to each of these three aspects of law. The chapter provides a common vocabulary and a set of comparable themes from classical theory to facilitate conversations about law across different sociological traditions.

Keywords

  • Law
  • Coercion
  • Ideology
  • Change

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Correspondence to Sida Liu .

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Cornelius, E., Liu, S. (2021). Law in Classical Sociological Theory: Coercion, Ideology, and Change. In: Abrutyn, S., Lizardo, O. (eds) Handbook of Classical Sociological Theory. Handbooks of Sociology and Social Research. Springer, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-78205-4_16

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