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NCJ Number: 51659 Find in a Library
Title: LEGAL THREAT AS AN INSTRUMENT OF SOCIAL CHANGE (FROM POLICY STUDIES - REVIEW ANNUAL, V 2, 1978 BY HOWARD E FREEMAN - SEE NCJ-51647)
Author(s): F ZIMRING; G HAWKINS
Corporate Author: Sage Publications, Inc
United States of America
Date Published: 1978
Page Count: 9
Sponsoring Agency: Sage Publications, Inc
Thousand Oaks, CA 91320
Format: Document
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: FACTORS AFFECTING THE EFFECTIVENESS OF LEGAL SANCTIONS IN CHANGING BEHAVIOR WITH SIGNIFICANT SUPPORT FROM TRADITIONAL CUSTOMS/VALUES ARE IDENTIFIED AND DISCUSSED.
Abstract: LAW AS AN INSTRUMENT OF SOCIAL CHANGE, AS WELL AS AN EXPRESSION OF PREEXISTING CONSENSUS MORALITY, IS VIEWED AS LEGITIMATE; HOWEVER, THE EFFECTIVENESS OF SUCH A USE OF LEGAL SANCTIONS IS CONSIDERED TO DEPEND ON A COMPLEX BLEND OF MANY FACTORS. THE FACTORS DISCUSSED INCLUDE: THE PROSCRIBED BEHAVIOR'S UTILITARIAN AND MORAL SIGNIFICANCE TO ADHERENTS; THE EXTENT TO WHICH IT HAS POPULAR SUPPORT; THE DEGREE TO WHICH IT IS VISIBLE TO ENFORCEMENT AGENCIES; THE EXTENT TO WHICH ITS NATURE IS SUCH THAT A GENERAL CHANGE MAY EXTINGUISH INDIVIDUAL CONFORMITY DRIVES; AND THE DEGREE TO WHICH ITS CHANGE MEETS CURRENT COMPELLING COMMUNITY NEEDS. IT IS NOTED THAT WHILE CERTAIN BEHAVIORAL CHANGES REQUIRED BY LAW MAY BE FOLLOWED WITH LITTLE RESISTANCE, OTHERS MAY BE STOUTLY RESISTED BECAUSE THE BEHAVIORAL CHANGE WOULD MEAN SERIOUS LOSS OF FINANCIAL OR SOCIAL STATUS TO SIZEABLE NUMBERS OF CITIZENS. THE EXTENT OF POPULAR SUPPORT FOR A PROSCRIBED CUSTOM WOULD ALSO DETERMINE WHETHER LAW ENFORCEMENT EFFORTS COULD REALISTICALLY BE APPLIED WITH SUFFICIENT REGULARITY SO AS TO CONSTRAIN BEHAVIOR. THE VISIBILITY OF THE BEHAVIOR TO LAW ENFORCEMENT PERSONNEL AND THOSE WHO MIGHT BE VICTIMIZED BY IT IS ALSO CONSIDERED A FACTOR IN DETERMINING THE EFFECTIVE APPLICATION OF SANCTIONS. LAWS REQUIRING BEHAVIORAL CHANGE IN THE MIDST OF A CRISIS GENERALLY PERCEIVED BY THE PUBLIC IS LIKELY TO BE EFFECTIVE IF IT IS VIEWED AS BEING RELEVANT TO AVOIDING PAINFUL CONSEQUENCES POSED BY THE CRISIS; HOWEVER, RESISTANCE TO THE SAME LAW MAY BE STRONG WHEN THE CRISIS HAS PASSED. DIFFERENCES BETWEEN CULTURES WHICH MAKE SOCIAL ENGINEERING EASIER FOR SOME LEGAL SYSTEMS THAN OTHERS, VARIATIONS IN THE CONDITIONS OF GOVERNMENT THAT INFLUENCE THE PROSPECTS OF SOCIAL CHANGE, AND THE EXISTENCE OF EDUCATIVE METHODS FOR ASSESSING EXISTING VALUES PRIOR TO LEGISLATION ARE BRIEFLY MENTIONED AS ARE OTHER FACTORS AFFECTING THE USE OF LAW IN EFFECTING SOCIAL CHANGE. (RCB)
Index Term(s): Analysis; Legislation; Social change
Note: *This document is currently unavailable from NCJRS. REPRINTED FROM LAW, JUSTICE AND THE INDIVIDUAL IN SOCIETY, P 60-68, 1977
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http://www.ncjrs.gov/App/publications/abstract.aspx?ID=51659

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