Legal theory and sociological facts

Law and Philosophy 17 (3):251-270 (1998)
Abstract
The authors investigate MacCormick and Weinberger's claim that the Institutional Theory of Law provides a conceptual framework for the study of legal phenomena from a socio-legal point of view. They evaluate this claim by confronting both the Institutional Theory of Law and Weinberger's theory of action with two approaches in socio-legal theory, i.e. the instrumentalist and the constitutive approach. The conclusion is that the Institutional Theory of Law lends itself to empirical research from an instrumentalist perspective, for both place the concept `institution' in the context of law. Weinberger's theory of action may provide a basis for empirical research from a constitutive perspective. The authors make some suggestions for refinement of Weinberger's theory of action in order that the relation between institutions and action can be labeled dynamic.
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