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Law and Society

Law and Society

Second Edition
  • Matthew Lippman - University of Illinois at Chicago, USA, John Marshall Law School in Chicago

October 2017 | 616 pages | SAGE Publications, Inc

“This is a well-rounded book that seems more interesting to students than other books I have used. It provides information on some cutting-edge themes in law and society while staying well grounded in the theories used by law and society practitioners.”

—Lydia Brashear Tiede, Associate Professor, University of Houston


Law and Society, Second Edition, offers a contemporary, concise overview of the structure and function of legal institutions, along with a lively discussion of both criminal and civil law and their impact on society. Unlike other books on law and society, Matthew Lippman takes an interdisciplinary approach that highlights the relevance of the law throughout our society. Distinctive coverage of diversity, inequality, civil liberties, and globalism is intertwined through an organized theme in a strong narrative.


The highly anticipated Second Edition of this practical and invigorating text introduces students to both the influence of law on society and the influence of society on the law. Discussions of the pressing issues facing today’s society include key topics such as the law and inequality, international human rights, privacy and surveillance, and law and social control.


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Chapter 1. An Introduction to Law and Society
An Introduction to Law and Society  
Definitions of Law  
Norms, Mores, and Folkways  
Approaches to Defining Law  
Summary of Definitions of Law  
Families of Law  
The Functions of Law  
The Dysfunctions of Law  
The Study of Law  
Two Perspectives on Law and Society  
Chapter 2. Theories of Law and Justice
Legal Systems  
Natural Law  
Legal Positivism  
The Categorical Imperative  
Historical School  
Classical Sociological Theorists  
Legal Realism  
Sociological Jurisprudence  
Legal Behavioralism  
Critical Legal Studies  
Critical Race Theory  
Feminist Jurisprudence  
Chapter 3. The Structure and Function of Courts, Legislatures, and Administrative Agencies
Courts and Conflict Resolution  
The Development of Federal Courts  
The Structure of the Judicial System  
Judicial Gatekeeping  
The Jurisdiction of Federal Courts  
Federal District Courts  
Federal Courts of Appeal  
The U.S. Supreme Court  
The Organization of State Courts  
State Courts of Limited Jurisdiction  
State Courts of General Jurisdiction  
State Appellate Courts  
State Supreme Courts  
State Judicial Selection  
How Judges Decide Disputes  
Administrative Agencies  
Law Enforcement  
A Statistical Profile of the Police  
International Perspective: The UN System  
Chapter 4. The Legal Profession
Perspectives on the Legal Profession  
The Historical Development of the English Legal Profession  
The Growth of the American Legal Profession  
The Contemporary Legal Profession  
International Perspective: The Legal Profession in China  
Chapter 5. Access to Justice and Legal Ethics
Lawyers, Clients, and Access to Justice  
Legal Ethics  
International Perspective: Legal Education in Germany and France  
Chapter 6. Dispute Resolution
Stages of Disputing  
Methods of Dispute Resolution  
Preconditions for Adjudication  
Social Influences on Disputing  
American Attitudes Toward the Law  
The Debate Over Litigation in America  
Alternative Dispute Resolution  
International Perspective: Gacaca Courts in Rwanda  
Chapter 7. Criminal Courts
Crime Control and Due Process  
Defense Attorneys  
Indigent Defense  
The Grand Jury  
Plea Bargaining  
International Perspective: Inquisitorial Legal Systems  
Chapter 8. Juries
The Trial  
The Jury in Criminal Cases  
The Development of the American Jury  
Jury Decision-Making  
Judges and Juries  
Jury Nullification  
Jury Selection  
Social Science and Jury Selection  
The Jury and the Death Penalty  
Wrongful Convictions  
International Perspective: The International Criminal Court  
Chapter 9. Law and Social Control
Informal and Formal Social Control  
Legal Control  
Criminal Penalties  
Capital Punishment  
Victimless Crimes  
White-Collar Crime  
Civil Commitment  
International Perspective: Genocide  
Chapter 10. The Impact of Law on Society
The Impact of Society on the Law  
Law as the Cause of Social Change  
Compliance, Rejection, and Evasion of the Law  
Courts and Social Change  
The Impact of Court Decisions on Criminal Justice  
Law and Social Movements  
Civil Disobedience and Social Change  
International Perspective: FGM and the Implementation of International Human Rights  
Chapter 11. Law and Racial and Ethnic Inequality
Critical Race Theory  
African Americans and the Criminal Justice System  
Racial Profiling  
Race and Stand Your Ground Laws  
Race and the War on Drugs  
Police-Involved Violence  
Hate Crimes  
The Color of Immigration Law  
Law and Diversity: The Cultural Defense  
International Perspective: Global Trafficking  
Chapter 12. International Human Rights and International Crime
The Evolution of the International Law of Human Rights  
The United Nations and Human Rights  
The United Nations Human Rights System  
Domestic Enforcement of International Human Rights  
Conflicting Perspectives on International Human Rights  
Domestic Courts and Human Rights  
U.S. Congressional Statutes and International Human Rights  
Child Soldiers and the Humanitarian Law of War  
Corporations and Human Rights  
Drones and Counterterrorism  
Torture and Crimes Against Humanity  
Chapter 13. Privacy and Surveillance
Does Privacy Matter?  
A Brief History of the Law of Privacy  
The Law of Privacy  
The Constitutional Right to Privacy  
The Panopticon Society  
Governmental Surveillance  
Private Sector Online Data Collection  
Identity Theft  
A Digital Constitution  
Drug Testing  
Fingerprints and Biometric Identification  
International Perspective: Internet Surveillance  

“This is a well rounded book that seems more interesting to students than other books I have used. It provides information on some cutting-edge themes in law and society while staying well grounded in the theories used by law and society practitioners.”

Lydia Brashear Tiede, Associate Professor
University of Houston

“It is a gold mine. Reading it could send your mind everywhere and makes you think of other ways of making the classroom more interactive. I suggested it to someone who is also using it for a sociology of law class.”

Boniface Noyongoyo
University of Central Florida

“I would describe the text as a great basic overview of law and society. It is well organized and very readable. I like the emphasis on an interdisciplinary approach as well as the highlighting of international issues.”

Eric Bellone, JD/PhD
Suffolk University

“It is a blend between a classic law and society textbook with contemporary legal issues. It provides the students with the ability to see connections between theory and practice that few other law and society books have provided.”

Aaron Lorenz
Ramapo College
Key features
  • New policy developments, data, and statistics have been added to ensure students are up-to-date on increasingly changing areas such as corporate crime, immigration and deportation, police use of deadly force, voter disenfranchisement, the immigration policies of Donald Trump, child soldiers, and more.
  • Discussions of new technology enable students to examine issues related to cybercrime, surveillance, and identity theft, as well as develop an understanding of the legal challenges presented by today’s technology.
  • New and controversial topics such as the police use of deadly force, the Black Lives Matter movement, sterilization, assisted suicide, legal needs of the poor, social movements, and homelessness are included.
  • Updated You Decide scenarios in every chapter introduce students to contemporary topics such as transgender rights and ask students to consider what they would do in each situation.
  • New true/false questions in the Test Your Knowledge feature encourage active learning by testing comprehension of the material in each chapter.


  • An interdisciplinary approach integrates various intellectual perspectives and traditions to provide extensive coverage of the legal profession, juries, criminal courts, and racial and ethnic inequality.
  • Gender is covered throughout the text with particular attention devoted to abortion, human trafficking, global exploitation, sexual abuse, and the role of women in the justice system.
  • A distinction between legal myth and reality is analyzed throughout the text using contemporary media examples.
  • International Perspective sections offer relevant cross-cultural and international studies to provide a unique global viewpoint.
  • Test Your Knowledge questions open chapters to show students what they may and may not know prior to reading the chapters.
  • You Decide cases are presented throughout the book to sharpen critical thinking skills by applying the chapter contents to contemporary issues.
  • A comprehensive Student Study Site in an easy-to-use learning environment offers additional study tools, including mobile-friendly eFlashcards and Web quizzes as well as links to SAGE journal articles, video and audio links, hyperlinks for Law and Society on the Web, an additional chapter on International Human Rights and International Crime, and other tools to help students accomplish their coursework goals. 

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ISBN: 9781506362274