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11 J. Conflict Resol. 1 (1967)

handle is hein.journals/jcfltr11 and id is 1 raw text is: 









Law and conflict resolution:


an introduction

DAVID   J. DANELSKI
Department of Political Science, Yale University


  Since the resolution of conflict is a prin-
cipal function of law, it was inevitable that
this journal would eventually devote a spe-
cial issue to law  and  conflict resolution.
Consistent with its policy of publishing arti-
cles using concepts, data, and methods from
all the social and behavioral sciences, the
present issue represents the perspectives of
several disciplines, especially anthropology,
sociology, and political science. One of the
contributors (Pospisil) is an anthropologist,
two  (Aubert and Skolnick) are sociologists,
two  (Lasswell and  Danelski) are  political
scientists, and one  (Arens)  is a lawyer.
Pospisil, Aubert, and Danelski were trained
in law prior to their work in the social and
behavioral sciences. Lasswell  has been  a
member   of a law faculty for more than two
decades. And  Aubert  and Skolnick are con-
nected  with special institutes for research
concerning law  and society.
   Diversity characterizes the issue; never-
theless, its contributors share a common
commitment to empirical science and a
conception of law in which human  behavior
is a  central component.   For  Pospisil, a
Kapauku   headman's  decision that sibmates
who  are third cousins may marry is, to use
Llewellyn's term, significant law stuff. So
are  perspectives, sign-symbol patterns,
and  other behaviors for Lasswell and Arens;
so, for Aubert and Skolnick, are negotiations
between   prosecutors and  defense lawyers


concerning guilty pleas; and so, for Danel-
ski, are interactions indicating conflict and
its resolution among Supreme Court justices.
Each  is concerned with law  in action and
not with law  as it is conventionally under-
stood in terms of statements in statutes and
case reports.
  The  notion of law in action is, of course,
not new.  It goes back at least to the begin-
ning of the present century and was articu-
lated by Ehrlich, Pound, and Holmes, among
others. But little systematic theory flowed
from  their insights. Although the behav-
ioral revolution in the social sciences after
World   War  II  contributed to theoretical
sensitivity on the part of some legal schol-
ars, a  thoroughgoing  behavioral jurispru-
dence is yet to be developed. As the articles
in this issue indicate, however, there is an
increasingly empirical  orientation in this
area of  scholarship and movement   in the
direction of operational definition, testing of
hypotheses, and use of models, all of which
indicates that the behavioral revolution is
finally having an  impact on  the study of
legal phenomena.   It may  not be amiss to
suggest that behavioral work in law is reach-
ing a takeoff point. If that is so, it will not
only make  for a scientific understanding of
the legal world but also contribute to a sys-
tematic body  of knowledge concerning con-
flict and its resolution at every level of so-
cial organization.

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