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Explaining Law

Macrosociological Theory and Empirical Evidence

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Larry D. Barnett

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.