Law and Society: An Introduction, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Law and Society

An Introduction, 1st Edition

By John Harrison Watts, Cliff Roberson

CRC Press

350 pages

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pub: 2013-11-15
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In recent years, legal studies courses have increased the focus on contemporary social issues as part of the curriculum. Law and Society: An Introduction discusses the interface between these two institutions and encourages students in the development of new insights on the topic. The book begins by introducing definitions, classifications, and the concept of the "rule of law." It then explores:

  • Principal legal systems, including common law, civil law, Islamic and socialist systems, and American Indian law
  • Feminist legal theories, critical race theory, and the roles of morality and values in social control
  • The contributions of sociological research and its impact on the law
  • Court systems and procedures, the exclusionary rule, and plea bargaining
  • The nature and process of legislative, administrative, and judicial lawmaking
  • Alternative dispute resolution and international arbitration and mediation
  • The law as a mechanism for social changes, such as those brought on by the 1964 Civil Rights Act
  • Issues related to the legal profession and professional responsibility

This text eliminates the need for a separate reader by also discussing controversial legal topics—including affirmative action, education, the death penalty, right to work laws, and abortion. Each chapter builds on the previous ones and includes concrete examples of the issues involved. Enhanced by chapter summaries of salient points, review questions, and practical exercises, the book is designed to encourage students in the development of new insights into the relationships between law and society.

Table of Contents

An Overview of Law and Society

Law and Society

Definitions of Law

Classifications of Legal Rules

Approaches to Law and Society

Rule of Law

Legal Systems

Common-Law Systems

Civil-Law Systems



American Indian Law

Theories of Law

European Pioneer Theorists

Interrelationship between Society and Law

Modern Legal Theorists

Critical Legal Studies

Feminist Legal Theories

Critical Race Theory

Social Research Methods

Fundamentals of Research

Methods of Inquiry

Policy and Evaluation Research

Differentiating Between Social and Criminal Justice

Legal Structures


Federal Court System

Classifications of Law

Scope of the Law


Flow of Litigation in Civil Proceedings

Flow of Criminal Proceedings


State Legislatures

How a Bill Becomes a Law

Administrative Agencies and Rulemaking

Law Enforcers


Social Control

Behavior and Social Controls

Informal Social Controls

Formal Controls

Controlling Dissent

Language Morphology Issues

Lawmaking as a Form of Social Control

Nature of Lawmaking

Legislative Lawmaking

Administrative Lawmaking

Judicial Lawmaking

Interest Groups

Dispute Resolution

Dispute Resolution Methods

Litigation as a Means of Resolving Disputes

Alternative Dispute Resolution

Conflict Resolution and Delinquency

International Arbitration and Mediation

Social Change and Law

Nature of Social Change and Law

Courts as Mechanism for Social Change

Impact of Social Change on Law


The Legal Profession

The Legal Profession in the United States

The Legal Profession Today

Lawyer Advertising

Professional Responsibility

Future of the Law

Private Life and the Law

Right to Privacy

Privacy Act of 1974



Crime and Justice Issues

Exclusionary Rule

Plea Bargaining

Hate Crimes


Capital Punishment


Labor Issues and the Law

Governmental Labor Policies

National Labor Relations Act

Present State of Labor Unions

Employers and Employee Rights

Right-to-Work Laws and Unions

Concerted Action

Fair Labor Standards Act


Workers’ Compensation


About the Authors

Harrison Watts, Ph.D., is an associate professor in the Criminal Justice and Legal Studies Department at Washburn University, Topeka, Kansas. Harrison’s research interests are in legal issues surrounding criminal law. He is the author of numerous book chapters, journal articles, and instructors’ resource manuals to accompany textbooks.

Cliff Roberson LLM, Ph.D., is an emeritus professor of criminal justice at Washburn University, Topeka, Kansas. Previously he served for four years as the editor in chief of the Professional Issues in Criminal Justice Journal. In 2009, a research study conducted by a group of professors from Sam Houston State University determined that Cliff Roberson was the leading criminal justice author in the United States based on his publications and their relevance to the profession [See Southwest Journal of Criminal Justice, Vol. 6, Issue 1, 2009]. He has authored or co-authored over 50 books and texts on legal subjects.

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
LAW / Criminal Law / General
LAW / Forensic Science