Classical Social Theory and Ideas of Responsibility and the State in France and Germany

Roger Cotterrell

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.12775/CLR.2013.002

Abstract


  Social theory can aid comparative legal studies by revealing currents of social ideas in which law develops. A comparison of major contributions to French and German social theory between the mid-nineteenth and the early twentieth century presents striking contrasts in understandings of the nature of legal responsibility and the function of the state. It shows two different movements of thought: one elaborating a view of law mainly as a technology of government overseeing and co-ordinating individual interests; the other emphasising the law’s importance in nurturing social solidarity and facilitating collective responsibility.


Keywords


Comte; Von Stein; Tönnies; Weber; Gierke; solidarism; Durkheim; Duguit; individualism; collective responsibility; solidarity; functions of law; modern state

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