We live in a society that has both written and unwritten rules. These rules define the culture of any particular society. Different theories, such as modern social contract theory, try to explain how these cultural norms and laws came into being. The theory of social contract has a moral or political obligation that depends on how people agree to form a society. Due to the continuous quest for power led to a state of fear and violence due to war as people tried to ensure that nobody would stop them from achieving their desires (Chung 2019). Hence, the state of nature called for the enforcement of some laws where people signed the Social Contract to form a sovereign state through the formation of an authority to help human beings achieve their desires more efficiently. However, in some cases, the law can act as means of oppressing certain individuals or groups of people and be unjust. Yet, I believe that even in that case, the law represents the principles of social contract theory.
Law acts as a mirror of society that functions to maintain social order. This is one of the notions prevalent in the discussion of law’s role in society. This statement is supported by the other two theses. First, the law is connected to the context of a social field it exists in or is imposed upon. The social arrangements and binding obligations, which exist in society act as an origin or a reason for the creation and development of legal systems (Perry et al., 2016). Social climate involves the intellectual, social, economic, and political environment of a certain time (Hoffman et al., 2018). Hence, laws act as a response to this environment, reflecting trends and processes that happen within society.
Secondly, the legal system is created out of necessity for the regulation of behaviors and relationships between individuals or groups of individuals. It creates an order of procedures, and connections between causes and effects of actions, which can cause dispute. Those two statements are connected to each other, hence, creating a system where law and society complete each other. As such, a successful policy or legislation is one that manages to effectively solve the existing problems by fitting into the pre-existing social environment and meeting its needs. At the same time, a law is a product of those norms, customs, and social arrangements. Therefore, law and society complement each other.
Chung, P. S. (2019). Race, Social Contract Theory, and Social Darwinism. In Critical Theory and Political Theology (pp. 27-57). Palgrave Macmillan, Cham.
Hoffman, A. J., Alamilla, S., & Liang, B. (2018). The Social Contract Theory Revisited: Examining the Relationship Between Greed, Conflict, and the Evolution of Cooperation. In The Role of Community Development in Reducing Extremism and Ethnic Conflict (pp. 135-153). Palgrave Macmillan, Cham.
Perry, D. C., Villamizar-Duarte, N., & Pagano, M. A. (2016). The social contract: A political and economic overview. Remaking the Urban Social Contract: Health, energy, and the environment. Urbana, IL: University of Illinois Press, pp3–32.