Tuesday, January 19, 2010
Is Law a Major Source to Prevent the Crime from Society?
Law and Society
Some norms are considered so important by a society that they are formalized into laws controlling people’s behaviour. In a political sense, law is the “body of rules made by government for society, interpreted by the courts, and backed by the power of the state”. Some laws, such as the prohibition against murder, are directed at all members of the society. Others, such as fishing and hunting regulations, are aimed primarily at particular categories of people. Still others govern the behaviour of social institutions (Securities and Exchange Agency, for example). Despite such differences, all types of laws are considered examples of formal social norms.
Sociologists have become increasingly interested in the creation of laws as a social process. Laws are created in response to perceived needs for formal social control. Sociologists have sought to explain how and why such perceptions are manifested. In their view, law is not merely a static body of rules handed down from generation to generation. Rather, it reflects continually changing standards of what is right and wrong; of how violations are to be determined and of what sanctions are to be applied.
Sociologists representing varying theoretical perspectives agree that the legal order reflects underlying social values. Therefore, the creation of criminal law can be a most controversial matter. Should it be against the law to employ illegal immigrants in a factory, to have an abortion, or to smoke on an airplane? Such issues have been bitterly debated because they require a choice among competing values.
It is important to underscore the fact that socialization is the primary source of conforming and obedient behaviour, including obedience to law. Generally, it is not external pressure from a peer group or authority figure that makes us go along with social norms. Rather, we have internalized such norms as valid and desirable and are committed to observing them. In a profound sense, we want to see ourselves (and to be seen) as loyal, cooperative, responsible, and respectful of others. In our society, people are socialized both to want to belong and to fear being viewed as different or deviant.
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