The sociology of law (or legal sociology) is often described as a sub-discipline of sociology or an interdisciplinary approach within legal studies. While some socio-legal scholars see the sociology of law as "necessarily" belonging to the discipline of sociology, others see it as a field of research caught up in the disciplinary tensions and competitions between the two established disciplines of law and sociology. Yet, others regard it neither as a sub-discipline of sociology nor as a branch of legal studies and, instead, present it as a field of research on its own right within a broader social science tradition. For example, Roger Cotterrell describes the sociology of law without reference to mainstream sociology as "the systematic, theoretically grounded, empirical study of law as a set of social practices or as an aspect or field of social experience".
Irrespective of whether the sociology of law is defined as a sub-discipline of sociology, an approach within legal studies, or a field of research in its own right, it remains intellectually dependent mainly on mainstream sociology, and to lesser extent on other social sciences such as social anthropology, political science, social policy, criminology and psychology, i.e. it draws on social theories and employs social scientific methods to study law, legal institutions and legal behaviour.
More specifically, the sociology of law consists of various sociological approaches to the study of law in society, which empirically examine and theorize the interaction between law and legal institutions, on the one hand, and other (non-legal) social institutions and social factors, on the other. Areas of socio-legal inquiry include the social development of legal institutions, forms of social control, legal regulation, the interaction between legal cultures, the social construction of legal issues, legal profession, and the relation between law and social change.
The sociology of law also benefits from and
References: Agersnap, Torben (2000) Theodor Geiger: Pioneer of Sociology in Denmark Arnaud, Andre-Jean (2007) "Carbonnier, Jean" in Encylopedia of Law and Society Black, D. (1976) The Behavior of Law (New Haven, Conn. Yale University Press). Black, D. (1972) "The Boundaries of Legal Sociology" in Yale Law Journal .