In U.S. legal theory, some scholars use the term instrumentalism as a name for a jurisprudential theory about law. This type of general theory includes a cluster of leading tenets. Not every instrumentalist theorist fully subscribes to all tenets. A primary tenet is that the purpose of legal theory is to develop and articulate a general concept of law as consisting most essentially of practical legal means to practical ends. A second tenet follows from the first. Legal theorists are to focus systematically on the highly varied and interrelated implementive machinery, techniques, and other legal resources deployed to serve the law's goals.

A further tenet is that sociological studies are required to determine the relevant conditions for efficacious uses of the resources of law. A corollary ...

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