(How) is it rational? Forms of legal rationalization and the mitigation of inequality in capitalist democracies

Robin Stryker

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

Abstract

This article critiques and builds on Max Weber's concept of rationalization, using his discussion of legal and scientific rationalizations and his distinction between formal and substantive legal rationalizations to define and illustrate processes of technocratization and substantivation of law. It shows the logical and empirical relationship between the two, and discusses tensions they generate in common law and code law systems. Conceptualizing technocratization and substantivation, and examining these processes in empirical research on regulatory law illuminates the nature, causes and consequences of important aspects of legal change. Substantivation as elaborated by the group-centered effects framework (GCE) formulated specifically to research legislation providing anti-discrimination legal rights to disadvantaged populations in capitalist democracies, helps specify when and how such laws are more versus less likely to increase equality.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)71-101
Number of pages31
JournalL'Annee Sociologique
Volume71
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 5 2021
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Code law
  • Common law
  • Formal rationality
  • Group-centered effects framework
  • Max weber
  • Rationalization
  • Substantivation
  • Substantive rationality
  • Technocratization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences(all)

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