Explaining Law

Macrosociological Theory and Empirical Evidence


Sociologist-lawyer Larry D. Barnett advances the macrosociological thesis that, in nations that are structurally complex and democratically governed, concepts and doctrines of law on society-central social activities are fashioned by society-level conditions, not by particular (or even prominent) individuals. Because a substantial body of social science research has found that law in a modern nation does not have a large, permanent effect on the frequency of such activities, the book contends that the content of law on the activities is a product, not a determinant, of the society in which the law exists. Explaining Law bolsters this contention with several original studies, and illustrates types of quantitative evidence that can be used to build a macrosociological theory of law.

Prices from (excl. shipping):

Add to Cart
Larry D. Barnett, J.D. (1975) University of Florida, Ph.D. (1965) Florida State University, is Professor Emeritus in the School of Law at Widener University Delaware Law School. He is the author of The Place of Law (Transaction Publishers, 2011) and Legal Construct, Social Concept (Aldine de Gruyter, 1993).
List of Figures and Tables


Chapter 1. A Macrosociological Approach to Concepts and Doctrines of Law
1. Social Science and Law
a. The Study of Law
b. A Macrosociological Framework for Law
c. A Note of Caution
2. Law-Targeted Activities
a. Crime
b. Discrimination
3. Analysis

United States

Chapter 2. Law on Abortion
1. Introduction
a. Societal Causes of the Demand for Therapeutic Abortion
b. Measures of a Societal Need for Therapeutic Abortion
2. A Study of the Effect of State-Level Variables on State Abortion Law
a. Design of the Study
b. Findings
c. Summary
3. Macrosociological Theory and the Institution of Law
a. Functionalism Theory and the Concept of Societal Need
b. Social Forces and U.S. Law on Therapeutic Abortion
c. Functionalism Theory and U.S. Law on Therapeutic Abortion

Chapter 3. "Three-Strikes" Law
1. Crime and Law in Society
a. "Three-Strikes" Law
b. Societal Pressure
2. A Study of State-Level Attributes and "Three-Strikes" Law
a. Study Design
b. Data Analysis
3. Discussion


Chapter 4. Law on Divorce in Western Europe
1. A Macrosociological Framework for Law
a. The Framework in Brief
b. A Case Study
2. Societal Benefits of Marriage
3. Law on Divorce in Europe
a. Law on Divorce as a Macrosociological Phenomenon
b. Research Design
c. Data Analysis: Preliminary Matters
d. Data Analysis: Findings
e. Examination and Assessment of Findings
4. Review of the Study and Its Implications
5. Law as a Societal Institution

Chapter 5. Mutual Fund Regulation in Europe
1. Mutual Funds and Law in the United States
2. Assets and Numbers of Mutual Funds Worldwide
3. A Macrosociological Perspective on Law
a. A Macrosociological Framework
b. Section 3(c)1) of the Investment Company Act
4. Jurisdiction Characteristics and Law on Mutual Funds in European Nations
a. Variables and Data
b. Data Analysis
5. Conclusion


Chapter 6. The Social Footing of the Great Recession
1. The Great Recession, Economics, and Sociology
2. Macrosociology and Social Values
3. Macrosociology and Law
4. Pre-Recession Change in Social Values
5. Pre-Recession Economic Manifestations of the Change in Values
a. Human Capital
b. Personal Debt
6. Pre-Recession Social Manifestations of the Change in Values
a. Premarital Sexual Intercourse among Minors
b. Marijuana Use
7. Aftermath of the Great Recession


Chapter 7. Moving Forward
1. Introduction
2. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964
a. Title VII and Race Discrimination
b. A Macrosociological Approach to Title VII
c. The Impact of Title VII on Race Discrimination in Employment
d. Societal Causes of Title VII
3. The Contribution of Other Disciplines to Explaining the Content of Law
a. Sex Differences in the Human Brain
b. Sex-Segregated Schooling
4. A Final Word

Author Index
Subject Index
Researchers, teachers, and graduate students in the social sciences and in law who are interested in a macrosociological perspective on law.
  • Collapse
  • Expand