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Law in Modern Society$
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Denis Galligan

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780199291830

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199291830.001.0001

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Change through Law: the Contours of Compliance

Change through Law: the Contours of Compliance

(p.331) 17 Change through Law: the Contours of Compliance
Law in Modern Society


Oxford University Press

There have been several instances that illustrate how modern societies make use of law to cause social change by influencing attitudes and common practices of both individuals and groups. In such cases, law becomes regulatory and directive as it sets standards that are aimed in affecting social practices and social relations for a wide range of people. Another use of law involves establishing new legal regimes to promote and allocate social welfare. However, one approach would assert that law should reflect the already existing social relations and practices instead of fundamentally changing them. Although enacted laws reflect social relations while attempting to modify them to fit certain interests and values, regulatory law epitomizes modern law in making social change happen by setting standards that are aimed at influencing behaviour. This chapter focuses on the interaction of a set of laws made to alter behaviour and how this addresses already established attitudes and practices.

Keywords:   social change, behaviour, social welfare, standards, regulatory, social practices, compliance

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