Arseny Kraevsky 1
  • 1 Saint Petersburg State University, 7–9, Universitetskaya Nab., St. Petersburg, 199034, Russia

The Conceptual Foundations of the Sociology of Law by Pitirim Sorokin and Max Weber

2023, vol. 22, No. 2, pp. 108–123 [issue contents]
The socio-legal theories of P. A. Sorokin and M. Weber are common in belonging to the normativist trend in the sociology of law. To determine the limits of their applicability to the analysis of the operation of legal norms, it is necessary to clarify the reasons for their differences. The notable differences between both theories are connected not only with the general differences in corresponding sociological systems, but also with fundamentally different conceptual foundations of socio-legal doctrines. The Russian-American sociologist P. A.Sorokin, in developing the ideas of L. I. Petrażycki, considered law as a set of norms with a certain content which indicates the permitted and proper behavior by means of the distribution of rights and obligations, which are always thought to be inextricably linked. This understanding of legal norms allows us to meaningfully separate them from the norms of morality, etiquette, technical norms, and rules of fashion. A key feature of law as a special kind of legitimate order for Weber is its coercion, ensured by the staff, i.e., a group of people specifically aimed at forcing compliance with the order. In contrast to Sorokin, Weber believed that law and other related phenomena are distinguished not at the level of individual norms, but at the level of normative systems (orders). Sorokin focused on organized groups, the skeleton of which are the norms that both determine the behavior of group members and create its structure. Contrary to Sorokin, Weber believes that normative motivation is only able to influence human behavior, but not to determine it. The difference in the researchers’ perceptions of the importance of normative motivation may be related to the focus on active duties in the case of Sorokin and on the framework model of the behavior of the empowered person in Weber’s case.
Citation: Kraevskiy A. (2023) Kontseptual'nye osnovaniya sotsiologii prava P. A. Sorokina i M. Vebera [The Conceptual Foundations of the Sociology of Law by Pitirim Sorokin and Max Weber]. The Russian Sociological Review, vol. 22, no 2, pp. 108-123 (in Russian)
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