Cywiński, Zbigniew (2012) Why should the sociology of law study the past? „Normy, Dewiacje i Kontrola Społeczna” 13: 194-216.
The article translates our view that studies of cultural images of the past, in particular those entrenched in Poland under the communist rule, may still be a valuable source of information about the Polish society, and that such studies may be specifically of value for sociological and legal analyses because they carry across specific elements of the former legal order and at the same time overlook changes which have taken place. When pointing at the validity and presence in today’s publications of the legacy of the critical thought of the Polish sociology of law emerged before 1989, we make assertion about a decreasing interest in issues of the recent past in the sociology of law today. When assuming that important features of the Polish social change contribute to sustaining the images of institutional reality, attitudes towards law and behaviors shaped in the past, we highlight possible reasons for such state of affairs as well as the issue of neglecting, underestimating or overlooking important aspects of Polish systemic transformation in the area of law-related social phenomena. In this context, we present some selected ways of defining relations between the revolutionary change and the pre-revolutionary past and some comments on the implications of overlooking the differences between similar elements of the old and new orders. In the following part, the paper overviews the examples of issues which still are in the field of interest of the Polish sociology of law (legal culture, prestige of justice and legal exclusion) and which, in our view, could be better explained if the influence of the past on public opinions and approaches were taken into account.
legal culture, legal exclusion, prestige of justice, sociology of law