Exploring the conceptual foundations for sociologically sound jurisprudence, and inspired by neighbouring sub-disciplines like the sociological theory of law or sociological jurisprudence this chapter puts forward an institutional theory of law that accounts for the wealth of legal phenomena and provides a working concept of law for sociology. It discusses key issues in the tension between sociology of law and jurisprudence and revisits the is/ought distinction as it applies to sociology and to jurisprudence, considering legal norms and processes as the institutional elements to test the two disciplines. Norms operate in communicative spaces, as patterns for action that influence peoples' expectations, social actions and the settlement of social conflicts. Sociology of law thus contributes to jurisprudence, distinguishing law from other normative systems, and legal norms from other types of norm.
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