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NCJ Number: 93457 Find in a Library
Title: Disputing In Legal and Nonlegal Contexts - Some Questions for Sociologists of Law
Journal: Law and Society Review  Volume:15  Issue:3-4  Dated:(1980-81)  Pages:681-706,883-910
Author(s): R Dickins; J Fitzgerald
Date Published: 1981
Page Count: 54
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: The focus of the sociology of law has shifted from distinctly legal institutions to the institutions and processes of disputing.
Abstract: The sociology of law has traditionally examined the ways in which the law handles 'trouble' cases. Recently, however, focus has shifted to aspects of disputing involving less distinctively legal processes and personnel. What happens in the early stages of a dispute can explain not only why some disputes go to court while others do not, but also the results of further stages of the process. Another trend in research on modern day disputing has involved examination of the role of nonlegal third parties or others not immediately involved in the dispute. An altogether higher level problem now evident in the disputing literature concerns the relationship of disputing to the overall state of society. It is probably fair to characterize much of the traditional sociology of law in the United States as being based firmly on the assumption that social conflict and friction are necessarily destructive. Further, it assumes or asserts that legal processes play an important part in managing conflict and friction and must therefore contribute to the overall level of social cohesion and integration in society. Recent legal anthropological literature in non-Western societies has augmented this line. This has led to proposals for alternative dispute handling mechanism such as Neighborhood Justice Centers, which may be more effective than the courts in reducing certain types of potentially disruptive conflict. Notes accompany the text. About 650 references are included. (Author summary modified)
Index Term(s): Alternative dispute settlement; Conflict resolution; Dispute processing; Neighborhood justice centers
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