Food for Thought: Weber’s Categories of Legal Thought

This week’s class was dedicated to exploring Max Weber’s work on law and society. We focused on Weber’s ideal types of authority, his ideas regarding the nature of bureaucracies, and his work on the rationalization of law in modern societies.

We spoke about four ideal types of legal thought identified by Weber, and spent most of our time looking at the forms most associated with modernization and bureaucratization.

For this week’s food for thought question, I thought we might look at some examples of pre-modern forms of law.

Instructions:

Write a post that:

  1. briefly describes the institution of trial by ordeal, as practiced in England. Be sure to draw on – and cite – some sources of information.;
  2. briefly describes the institution of the witch trial, as practiced in medieval Europe or in the United States.
  3. Explains how both of these institutions fit into Weber’s ideal-typical categorizations of legal thought.

Your post should be submitted before next week’s class.

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