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State, Government, and Legal Order

Sociologists usually couch the relationship between power and law in terms of whether or not there is a power elite that determines the content and implementation of law. In one sense, the answer is obvious: those in a position to create and implement laws are by definition the ones with the power to do so. In most modern democratic legal systems, the role incumbents capable of creating laws are the legislators and, especially in common law countries, judges. Those in a position to implement the laws are role incumbents in the state bureaucracies.

State and Government

In attempting to unravel the complex relationship between law and power, it is useful to begin by distinguishing between the state and government. Government encompasses people who have achieved their roles, ...

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