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American LawAn Introduction$
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Lawrence M. Friedman and Grant M. Hayden

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780190460587

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2017

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190460587.001.0001

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Law and Social Change

Law and Social Change

Chapter:
(p.261) 14 Law and Social Change
Source:
American Law
Author(s):

Lawrence M. Friedman

Grant M. Hayden

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190460587.003.0014

This chapter explores the relationship between law and social change. Law can affect behavior and promote social change in a number of ways, including the use of sanctions or, more subtly, by channeling behavior through default rules and other “nudges.” The law may also hold back social change by locking older patterns of race, sex, and class into place. A large part of this chapter is devoted to the role of the law in race relations, from slavery to affirmative action. The final part of the chapter looks at a number of recent examples of law and social change, including cohabitation, surrogacy, and same-sex marriage.

Keywords:   social change, default rules, race, slavery, affirmative action, cohabitation, surrogacy, same-sex marriage

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