The social conditions of law (Andrea Kretschmann)

Lüneburg Professor publishes book on sociological theories of law

2024-07-09 How does law come about? How is it shaped by the respective society? And how, in turn, does it shape the social conditions of a community? These are the questions addressed in the book "Sociological Theories of Law. An Introduction Based on Key Texts". It was published jointly by the cultural sociologist Andrea Kretschmann, professor at Leuphana University Lüneburg, and the sociologist and lawyer Alfons Bora.

"Law is fundamental to societies. Every social order is permeated by law, and today it reaches into all areas of life worldwide," says Kretschmann, explaining the significance of the book. With its key texts, it is aimed at all those interested in legal practice, as well as researchers in sociology and related fields. "It also offers students orientation in the subject area," adds the cultural sociologist. Kretschmann emphasises that there has been a lack of introductions to legal sociology, which are written from a social science perspective rather than from a legal perspective. The editors intend the book to change this, applying social and cultural science standards. Thus, it is more closely linked to debates in general sociology than has previously been the case.

After an introduction to the founding phase of the sociology of law, on an initial 416 pages, the authors discuss the insights of such classics as Karl Marx, Émile Durkheim and Max Weber. The second part presents the perspectives of authors in the sociology of law during the differentiation phase of sociology. This ranges from Theodor Geiger and Niklas Luhmann to Pierre Bourdieu. The third part deals with contemporary sociologies of law. With Patricia Ewick and Susan Silbey, this includes, for example, Legal Consciousness Studies, and, with Catherine A. MacKinnon, but also with Kimberlé W. Crenshaw, Critical Legal Studies on topics of gender and/or race. The authors include Sabine Frerichs, an economic sociologist at the University of Vienna, Jasmin Siri, a political sociologist at the Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich, and Petra Sußner, a specialist in the field of legal gender studies at the University of Siegen.


  • Prof. Dr. Andrea Kretschmann