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Donald Black attempts to formulate propositions
on August 6, 1998
In The Behavior of the Law (1976), As for the quantity of law Donald Black attempts to formulate propositions that "explain the quantity and style of law in every setting (pp. 6)." (which he defines as governmental social control), he argues that it can be measured by the amount and scope of legal prohibitions-and obligations-to which people are subject. As Black says, any "initiation, invocation, or application" of law can be considered an increase (Black, pp. 3). In this regard, the theory is meant to explain the law without reference to the individual. 1. Stratification 2. Morphology 3. Culture 4. Organization 5. Social Control With law as his dependent variable, Black asserts that there are five independent variables that can provide us with an understanding of the amount, scope, and style of law in human affairs-at any time and place. These independent variables are: (1) Stratification, (2) Morphology, (3) Culture, (4) Organ! ization, and (5) Social Control.
Black (1976) argues that each of these variables are independent of the others and that it is possible to apply all of them at once when explaining the behavior of the law (ibid., pp. 2). Black defines these crucial variables as follows: Stratification is the vertical aspect of social life, or any uneven distribution of the conditions of existence, such as food, access to land or water, and money. Morphology is the horizontal aspect, or the distribution of people in relation to each other, including their division of labor, integration and intimacy. Culture is the symbolic aspect, such as religion, decoration, and folklore. Organization is the corporate aspect, or the capacity for collective action. Finally, Social Control is the normative aspect of social life, or the definition of deviant behavior and the response to it, such as prohibits, accusations, punishment, and compensation (Black, pp. 1 ~ 2, 1976, bold type-face added).
Us! ing these five variables, Black argues that-"all else being! constant"-the following will occur: more stratification will result in more law (a positive correlation), increased morphology will result in more law-but only to a point, at which time the effect is reversed (a curvilinear correlation), More culture will result in more law (another positive correlation), more organization will result in more law (a positive correlation), and more social control will result in less law (a negative correlation). Finally, from these five independent variables, Black identified a myriad of similar correlations (he calls them "propositions") which go beyond the scope of this brief summary.