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and cultural study both of science in The Pasteurization

of France (1984 [trans. 1988]), most especially

through his book Science in Action (1987) and

of technology (among other places in his book

Aramis, 1992). He is also well known for his critique

of modernism in his We have Never been

Modern (1993). Latour has characterized the contemporary

world in terms of the “proliferation of

hybrids” and has argued that nonhumans – both

living and nonliving things – should be considered

“actors” and be attributed agency by social scientists.

His work is associated with actor network


His writings have often been attacked by the

defenders of traditional approaches to science,

and he was one of the central protagonists in

what came to be called the “science wars” of the

1990s, when the kind of science studies that

Latour promoted were criticized by writers such

as Paul Gross and Norman Levitt (in Higher Superstition,


law and society

This phrase refers to an association of scholars,

a journal of academic research, and a collection

of empirical approaches to understanding how law

works. As a multi-disciplinary paradigm within

twentieth-century scholarship, law and society

focuses on what legal institutions do rather than

what they ought to do. In place of the normative

and policy orientations of most jurisprudence, the

law and society approach claims that law can be

understood best empirically, as a social institution

embedded within and connected to all other

social institutions. Using what are believed to be

the more reliable research practices of empirical

social scientific inquiry, law and society scholarship

moved beyond purely subjective interpretations

and the doctrinal argumentation of

traditional legal scholarship by systematically collecting

data and developing empirically grounded

theory; at the same time law-and-society scholarship

offers critical judgment about legal practices

because it is independent of the authority and

interests of the legal profession.

In 1964, a group of sociologists, political scientists,

psychologists, anthropologists, historians,

and law professors formed the Law and Society

Association; in 1967, they began publishing a

Latour, Bruno (1947– ) law and society


research journal, the Law and Society Review; and

following two national meetings in the 1970s,

since 1979 they have been holding annual conferences

for scholarly exchange and debate. In the

early years, the association and the journal, as

well as four research centers located on the

campuses of the University of California at Berkeley,

the University of Denver, Northwestern University,

and the University of Wisconsin, were

supported by generous grants from the Russell

Sage Foundation, whose interest in social policy

and change found a happy target in this nascent

intellectual movement. Recognizing law as the central

governing mechanism and language of the

modern state, the foundation sought to explore

ways in which the legal profession might, or might

not, provide leadership for progressive social

change. Drawing upon diverse historical sources,

and the pioneering work of contemporaries such

as Philip Selznick at Berkeley, Harry Kalven, Hans

Zeisel, and Rita Simon at Chicago, and Willard

Hurst at Wisconsin, the birth of the law-and-society

group as a formal membership association signaled

an organized, long-term commitment to interdisciplinary

empirical work that would transcend the

boundaries of distinct disciplinary fields and traditional

legal scholarship. The Russell Sage Foundation,

the Law and Society Association, and the Law

and Society Review created a field in which “social

science disciplines could be brought to bear on . . .

law and legal institutions in a systematic manner.”

The Foundation was, as expressed by Christopher

Tomlins in Framing the Field of Law’s Disciplinary

Encounter (2000), “both responding to and contributing

to [a] moment of striking change” as epitomized

by the civil rights, anti-war, and emergent

women’s and gay rights movements.

Because law is a system of both symbols and

action, structured reason and regulated force,

this social scientific study of law draws from diverse

traditions that attend to both normative

aspirations and social organization. Attention to

the relationship between law and society, the role

of reason, ideas of justice, and the regulation of

force can be found in ancient and medieval works

of philosophy from Plato (427–347 BC), through

Thomas Hobbes (1588–1679) and John Locke

(1632–1704), to Baron Charles de Montesquieu’s

canonical work, The Spirit of the Laws (1748). These

classical works display European philosophy’s preoccupation

with knowledge as a synthesis of universal,

timeless truths. The cultural, social, and

variable dimensions of law became more prominent

in the nineteenth century, when jurisprudential

thinkers, such as Friedrich Karl von Savigny

(1814–75), in Germany in 1831, described law as

the slow, organic distillation of the spirit of a

particular people, and when historians, such as

Henry Maine (1822–88), in Britain in 1861, described

the development of social relations over

the millennia as a movement from status to


At the beginning of the twentieth century, legal

scholars in major North American and European

institutions were devoting increasing attention to

the sociological aspects of law. The Austrian scholar

Eugen Ehrlich (1862–1922) in 1913 described what

he called “the living law,” the complex system of

norms and rules by which the members of organizations,

communities, and societies actually live.

Formal law emanating from the state is dependent

in large part, he argued, on its informal concordance

with the living law. Judge and jurist Oliver

Wendell Holmes, Jr. (1841–1935) perfectly expressed

the movement towards a social understanding

of law when he described the law as a

grand anthropological document, writing in The

Common Law (1881) that the life of the law is not

logic but experience, a word he used for culture.

Roscoe Pound (1870–1964), Dean of the Harvard

Law School, pushed the sociological perspective

yet further when, in 1910, he named the informal

practices of legal institutions the “law-in-action,”

contrasting them with the “law-in-the-books,” legal

doctrines formally enacted and ideally in force.

American legal realists, a collection of law professors

and philosophers writing in the 1920s and

1930s, made the exploration of this gap between

the formal law and the law-in-action the central

focus of their research. Alongside their efforts to

expose the illogic of ostensibly logical arguments,

the legal realists began the work, taken up by the

law and society movement three decades later, to

describe the law-in-action.

By the end of World War II, the social sciences

had developed empirical tools for data collection

and analysis (for example surveys of legal use and

need, statistical analysis of court records, interviews

with jurors and judges) that moved the study

of the law-in-action forward with energy and effectiveness.

The social sciences had become a respectable

third wing of higher education, finally

standing abreast the historically more prestigious

humanities and the more recently institutionalized

sciences. From some perspectives, the social

sciences, in adopting methods from the physical

sciences, especially experimental techniques and

quantitative methods of data analysis (see quantitative

data analysis), had begun to pull ahead of the

humanities as sources of reliable social knowledge.

law and society law and society


Turning their gaze to legal processes and institutions,

social scientists could also draw upon

their own disciplinary traditions to authorize

their research. The most important social theorists

writing in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries

had already recognized law as a central

means of rationalized coordination and regulation

in modern societies no longer governed as tightly

by custom and religion. Post-World War II social

scientists were encouraged to look closely at how

law accomplished this role as the general societal

manager. In this work, they drew uponE´mile Durkheim’s

models of the different functions of law in

societies with lesser or greater divisions of labor

and sought evidence of varying degrees of repressive

law or restitutive law in more or less industrialized

societies. Following Max Weber, others

described patterns of litigation and legal doctrine

associated with different types of economic and

cultural development.

In its more than thirty-five years of history, this

interdisciplinary movement has produced a body

of reliable knowledge about how the law works.

Law-and-society research has discovered the role of

law everywhere, not only in courtrooms, prisons,

and law offices but also in hospitals, bedrooms,

schoolrooms, in theatres, films, and novels, and

certainly on the streets and in police stations and

paddy wagons. At times, socio-legal scholarship,

another term for law-and-society research, has

also mapped the places where law ought to be

but is not. In historical studies of litigation, policing,

the legal profession and delivery of legal

services, court cultures and judicial biographies,

the effectiveness of legal regulation of workplace

and business transactions; in reports on access to

law and the structure of both professional and

popular legal consciousness; and in histories of

how particular legal doctrines and offices developed,

law-and-society research demonstrates

how organization, social networks, and local cultures

shape law. This research has also demonstrated

how law is recursively implicated in the

construction of social worlds – of organizations,

social networks, and local cultures – and thus

contributes to both the distribution of social resources

and the understandings of the world so


These accounts describe how in doing legal

work, legal actors and officials respond to particular

situations and demands for service rather than

to general prescriptions or recipes provided by

legal doctrine. Although law claims to operate

through logic and formal rationality, it is no different

from most other work and, thus, rather

than following invariant general principles, proceeds

on a case-by-case basis. This is evident in

the production of law through litigation and in the

creation of precedent through decisions in individual

cases; it is true of law enforcement as well.

Most participants, professional and lay, operate

through reactive, situationally specific rationality.

And even in instances of organized campaigns by

civil rights organizations, trade union, or the

women’s movement for pay equity, legal strategies

rely on the ability to aggregate the outcomes

of individual cases. While they may not produce

specifically material outcomes, they often achieve

cultural, conceptual transformations as described

in M. McCann’s Rights at Work (1994).

Because legal action is not rule-bound but situationally

responsive, it involves extralegal decisions

and action; thus, all legal actors operate

with discretion. Documenting the constraints and

capacities of legal discretion has occupied these

several generations of law-and-society scholars,

whose research provides evidence about how discretion

is invoked, confined, and yet ever-elastic.

In exercising this inevitable discretion, legal

actors respond to situations and cases on the

basis of typifications developed not from criteria

of law or policy alone but from the normal and

recurrent features of social interactions. These

folk categories are used to typify variations in

social experiences in an office, agency, or professional

workload and to channel appropriate or

useful responses. These typifications function as

conceptual efficiency devices.

By relying on ordinary logics, local cultural categories,

and norms, legal action both reflects and

reproduces other features and institutions of

social life. On the one hand, as a tool for handling

situations and solving problems, law is available at

a cost, a cost distributed differentially according to

social class, social status, and organizational position

and capacity. On the other hand, law is not

merely a resource or tool but a set of conceptual

categories and schema that produce parts of the

language and concepts people use for both constructing

and interpreting social interactions and

relationships. These ideological or interpretive

aspects of law are also differentially distributed.

The most well-cited piece of law and society

research summarizes much of these findings by

creating a model of the variable capacity of legal

actors based on their status as one-time or repeat

players in the legal system, concluding that despite

ambitions for equality under law, “the ‘haves’

come out ahead,” according to Marc Galanter in

his “Why the ‘Haves’ Come Out Ahead” (Law and

law and society law and society


Society Review, 1974). This observation does not

undermine legality but has become part of the

common understanding that helps to sustain the

power and durability of law, just as the common

knowledge of the limitations of legality serves to

protect the law from more sustained critique.

In addition to developing a growing body of

empirical knowledge about how law works, law

and society has also been successful in institutionalizing

its field of scholarship. Although the

sociology of law in Europe remains a predominantly

theoretical and normative enterprise, it is,

nonetheless, a required subject for the education

and training of European lawyers. In the United

States, the original centers of law-and-society research

in the law schools of Berkeley, Wisconsin,

Denver, and Northwestern remain strong, with

additional concentrations of law and society at

the University of California at Los Angeles, at

Irvine, and at Santa Barbara, the State University

of New York at Buffalo, the University of Michigan,

and New York University.

The influence of law-and-society research on

legal agencies is probably much more significant.

Most courts, agencies, and legal organizations collect

data about their activities. Most recognize the

role of non-legal factors in shaping their work and

use social variables, among other indicators, to

analyze and explain legal work. Law and society

scholars regularly serve as expert witnesses in

litigations on capital punishment, witness reliability,

and gender and racial discrimination,

among other topics. Newspapers also report the

results of socio-legal research. Thus, alongside a

picture of the law as a system of words and documents,

law and society has succeeded in painting

a picture of law as a social system, an understanding

that has been documented in popular and

professional consciousness. SUSAN SI L BEY

Lazarsfeld, Paul (1901–1976)

Born in Vienna, Paul Lazarsfeld received his PhD at

the university there in 1925. He emigrated to the

United States in 1933, became Director of the

Bureau of Applied Research at Columbia University

in 1940, and became a member of the Columbia

faculty from 1949 to 1969. Lazarsfeld is best known

for his contributions to methodology, political

sociology, and mass communications research.

Lazarsfeld was a pioneer in the development

of quantitative sociology, first through survey

research and later through such sophisticated

mathematical techniques as latent structure analysis.

He helped change sociological research

from the qualitative study of communities to the

systematic, quantitative explanation of individual

characteristics and outcomes. Surveys and other

research techniques demonstrated that measurable

variables could be causally linked with one

another and explain the social influences on

individual attitudes.

He utilized surveys in studies of voting behavior

and audience research. In The People’s Choice

(1944), with Bernard Berelson and Hazel Gaudet,

and Personal Influence (1955), with Elihu Katz, he

developed the idea of the two step flow of communication.

Though Lazarsfeld recognized that mass

media were increasingly powerful in the modern

world, he found that many people’s choices, especially

regarding voting, were influenced by

the viewpoints of powerful individuals in their


Through his directorship of the Bureau of Applied

Research, Lazarsfeld helped to inaugurate

university based large-scale sociological studies.

His association with Robert Merton at Columbia

contributed to a theoretically sophisticated, quantitative

sociology that moved into the mainstream

of the discipline. KENNETH H. TUCKER

Le Bon, Gustave (1841–1931)

A physician and polymath whose writings ranged

from studies of Arab and Indian civilization to treatises

on photography and theoretical physics, Le

Bon is best known today as the author of The

Crowd (1895 [trans. 1896]) and as the founder of a

school of social psychology that became linked to

twentieth-century practices of propaganda and

public relations. Born in Rogent-Le-Routrou, Le

Bon studied medicine at the University of Paris

and traveled in Europe, North Africa, and India

before becoming Director of the French military

ambulance division. Influenced by Charles Darwin,

Auguste Comte, and Herbert Spencer, as well as by

Johannson Herder and nineteenth-century race

theory, Le Bon became interested in the part

played by collective psychology in the character

and development of different civilizations. For Le

Bon, what united and distinguished a nation

or “race” was not biological (since “today there

are no pure races”) but a shared depository of

beliefs and sentiments, which he conceived as a

pre-rational collective unconscious. Changes in

ideas – “the only true revolutions” – involved ferment

at that level. Hence, as he explained in

The Crowd, the historical importance of crowds

and crowd psychology. Le Bon had already laid

the grounds for this analysis in L’Homme et les

socie´te´s (1881) and Les Lois psychologiques de l’e´volution

des peuples (1884); he further developed it in Les

Lazarsfeld, Paul (1901–1976) Le Bon, Gustave (1841–1931)


Opinions and les croyances (1910), Psychologie politique

(1910), and La Re´volution Francaise et la psychologie

des re´volutions (1912). Both with regard to peoples

and crowds, a category that extended from street

riots to legislative assemblies to the rising cultural

weight of urban masses, Le Bon parallels

mile Durkheim in his stress on the emergent

and irreducible properties of groups. He differed,

however, in his insistence on the non-rational

and unconscious elements of collective consciousness,

and also in his recognition, which anticipated

mass society theorists, that industrial

modernity was an “era of crowds.”


Le Play, Pierre Guilliaume Fre´de´ric


The son of a customs officer from Normandy, Le

Play was the founder of an influential school of

empirical sociology. He had a multifaceted career

and rose to become one of the most prominent

figures in the France of Louis Napole´on (1808–73).

Besides his voluminous sociological writings (many

of which were field reports in connection with

administrative assignments), he was a Professor

of Metallurgy at the E´cole des Mines from 1844

to 1856, a member of the 1848 provisional government,

and in the Second Empire was appointed a

Senator and Grand Commissioner of Expositions.

Influenced by Claude Henri de Rouvroy, Comte

de Saint-Simon, Auguste Comte, Charles Fourier

(1772–1837) and Louis Gabriel de Bonald (1754–

1840), and horrified by the violence of the 1830

revolution, Le Play campaigned for a social-sciencebased

reform program that would promote social

peace in a new class-divided and individualistic

industrial society. The focus of much of his

research was on the economic and social conditions

of the working class family, particularly as

affected by technological, economic, and geographic

determinants. His method combined fieldwork,

survey research, classification systems, and

multi-sided studies of representative cases. To further

his scientific work, in 1856 he established the

Socie´te´ d’E´conomie et de Science Sociale, and in

1871, to promote his schemes for inter-class solidarity,

the journal La Re´forme. Among his chief

works were Les Ouvriers europe´ens (1855), La Re´forme

sociale en France (1864), L’Organisation de la famille

(1871), and La Me´thode de la Science Sociale (1875).



The notion of “leadership” arises as a necessary

part of a relationship. The only bodies of thought

that can deny the necessity of leadership are those

that deny that individuals need to develop

through relationships with one another.

The notion of leadership is taken for granted by

preliberal thought since hierarchy is seen as natural

and people are differentiated according to

the roles they play. Rulers lead the ruled; men

lead women; lords lead their serfs; citizens lead

slaves; and so forth. The exercise of leadership is

linked to factors that cannot be changed. Leadership

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