Law, Sociology of

Carol A Heimer*, Jaimie Morse

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Although early sociologists studied law as part of industrialization and modernization, a distinct subfield emerged after the mid-twentieth century. This article focuses on two key bodies of research in the sociology of law: (1) studies of the formal institutions of law and (2) studies of the circulation, reception, and consumption of law, broadly conceived, beyond formal institutions of law. Using the shorthand phrases 'law within the courts' and 'law beyond the courts', this article summarizes key questions and findings of this work, describes its influence on later studies of law and globalization, and assesses its value added for sociolegal studies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationInternational Encyclopedia of the Social & Behavioral Sciences: Second Edition
PublisherElsevier Inc
Number of pages6
ISBN (Electronic)9780080970875
ISBN (Print)9780080970868
StatePublished - Mar 26 2015


  • Access to justice
  • Courts
  • Employment discrimination
  • Endogeneity of law
  • Gap studies
  • Gender
  • Globalization
  • Innovation and diffusion
  • Institutionalism, Neoinstitutionalism
  • Law and inequality
  • Law on the books, law in action
  • Lawyers
  • Legal consciousness
  • Professions
  • Recursivity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences(all)


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