Food for Thought: Applying Weber’s Typology of Law

This week, we studied Max Weber’s sociology of law. Weber’s theories continue to inform socio-legal scholarship, particularly in areas concerned with changes in legal systems over time, the ‘bureaucratization’ of law and government, the administration of law, and the legitimacy of legality.

Weber employs a typology of basic categories of legal thought – ideal-type descriptions of particular ways of understanding and acting in relation to law.

Food for Thought:

For this week’s Food for Thought exercise, I would like to encourage you to use Weber’s theory as an analytical and explanatory framework for making sense of a particular socio-legal phenomenon. You may choose one topic from the following list.

Possible topics (choose one):

  • The emergence of the Restorative Justice movement
  • Contemporary Canadian Access to Information / Freedom of Information laws
  • The current Canadian process for adjudicating refugee claims
  • The parole process and Parole Board decision-making
  • The Supreme Court of Canada’s decision in Tsilhqot’in Nation v. British Columbia, [2014] SCC 44
  • Mandatory minimum sentences associated with firearms or drug-related offences in Canada
  • The replacement of the Young Offenders Act with the Youth Criminal Justice Act
  • The Supreme Court of Canada’s decision in R. v. Stinchcombe, [1991] 3 S.C.R. 326
  • The Supreme Court of Canada’s decision in Askov v. R., [1990] 2 S.C.R. 1199
  • The recent motion passed by the Benchers of the BC Law Society that directs the Law Society to conduct a referendum of all BC lawyers regarding a proposed law school at Trinity Western University

Once you have chosen your topic, your task is to write a post that:

  1. Opens with a brief overview of the topic, with reference to supporting sources (this should take up about 1/3 of your post);
  2. Applies Weber’s theory – especially (but not exclusively) his ‘basic categories of legal thought’ to explain the topic.

The richer and more engaged your application of Weber’s theory, the better.

If you decide to prepare a post in response to this question, it must be submitted before class on October 14, 2014



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