Full Text - IDOSI Publications

World Applied Sciences Journal 29 (10): 1248-1250, 2014
ISSN 1818-4952
© IDOSI Publications, 2014
DOI: 10.5829/idosi.wasj.2014.29.10.13964
Legal Culture of Modern Society: General Philosophical and
Anthropological Analysis of the Category. Part Two
Olga Miroshnichenko
Senior Teacher, School of Law, Far Eastern Federal University, Vladivostok, Russia
Abstract: This article is talking about the phenomenon of legal culture in the reseach of non-Russian scientists.
The author is analyzing the main approaches to this notion in foreign legal science and finally comes to a
conclusion that understanding and filling of the analyzed category directly depends on the general culture of
particular society. Various insinuations on legal culture because of which the spiritual, cultural component is
expelled from its structure, turn out to be consequence of misunderstanding of the specified statement and as
a result lead to a situation whenlaw itselfloses its sociocultural spirit.
Key words: Culture
Legal culture
Positive law.
General culture
The second part of our analysis of the category of
legal culture is devoted to understanding and filling of the
term outside the scope of Russian legal science.
Foreign legal science also doesn't have clear
definition of the studied category. An Italian professor
David Nelek would take legal culture as a set of more or
less stable patterns of behavior and relationships in the
legal field.He says that legal culture, likeculture itself, is
about who we are not just what we. As an illustrative
example, Italian scientist compares ways of crossing the
street in various European countries.The British
pedestrian feels relatively safe on pedestrian crossings,
but rather less secure if he is crossing elsewhere. In Italy
the degree of security, according to the professor,
depends entirely on the integrity of the driver, but not on
the part of the road where it is going to be crossed.In
Germany if you cross the road on zebra crossing, there is
no danger at all. Thus, the Italian scientist says that legal
culture is not only positive law but moreits estimated
understanding in society [1].
Even G.W.F. Hegel, who is not directly mentioning
legal culture as a term in his works, notionally analyzes
itbecause of comparision between ideal and real in law.As
we remember, the main subject of Hegel's theory of law is
the nature of law and its whole existance in the field of
Professional lawyers
Sense of law
people's relationship [2]. The laws of nature are absolute
and exist and work just as they are. To know what the
laws of natureare, we must search nature itself, because
these laws are true, false may appear only in our
understanding. Measure of these laws is beyond us and
our knowledge will not add anything to them, we can only
deeper our knowledge. Social laws and law as a
phenomenon itself are much alike to nature laws from one
hand and differ much from another. The difference is that
the main idea in studying social laws is undestanding
thatsocial laws are not absolute and totally depend on our
consideration. Legal lawsalways come from people. Inner
voice can either agree or disagre with them [3]. Thus, the
laws of nature are absolute, social laws and rules are
relative. Consequently, a person's attitude to legal
requirements is usuallly estimated: Man can not blindely
obey the essence, he argues that he also has a legal sense
in himself. He may obey the necessity of the power of
external authority, but he never obeys them he obeys the
necessary laws of nature, because his essence always
tells him how it should be to his own mind and he finds in
himself something that also has the force of law s for him
[4]. Thus, legal culture, according to the German
philosopher, has both a philosophic component - ideas
about real law of members of the society and quite
material - positive law perpetrated by state authorities.
And legal reality in his mind is a reasonable estimate of
Corresponding Author: Olga Miroshnichenko, Senior teacher, School of Law, Far Eastern Federal University,
Vladivostok, Russia.
World Appl. Sci. J., 29 (10): 1248-1250, 2014
the quintessential man of the current legislation in
terms of his ideas about real law. So, G.W.F. Hegel
thought that all legal laws are absolute and uniform. To
our mind, criteria of reasonableness is based on an
understanding of freedom and justice that is different for
each society.
In modern foreign jurisprudence, there are also very
categorical, highly controversial approaches to the
definition of legal culture. For example, Belgian lawyer,
Mark Van Hook, understands legal culture as culture of
only lawyers as a professional group. When we talk
about legal culture, – writes Professor Van Hook, – we
usually imagine traditions, values, attitudes and habits
that dominate in the professional legal environment or in
the legal profession in general (internal legal culture) [5].
Applied to society in general, he uses the term "foreign
legal culture" and believes that public legal culture is
secondary to internal professional one and is based on it.
For Russian jurisprudence, such approach is a very
original one. Our legalscience has traditionally outstanded
legal culture of society and legal culture of a person
(sometimes group legal culture is also marked). Moreover,
much of the researches on legal culture characterize this
category as a part of the general culture of the society. So,
the category that Professor Van Hook calls an internal
legal culture, in Russian legal science is called
professional legal culture and is identified only as one of
the specific groups of legal culture of the society.
To our mind, it seems more perspective to stay on
the "broad" understanding that says legal culture is a
characteristic of the society in general. With all the
respect to the Belgian professor, narrow content of the
analyzed term (only as a culture of legal professionals)
seems rather useless in both cognitive and applied
viewpoints, because personality, - according to T.
Sinukova, - is a natural carrier of values of the legal
culture of the whole society [6] and this allows us
toadmitthe primacy of whole in front of unique in this
case. Moreover, we should also mention that if we give
the first place to legal culture of the lawyers, we will
have to admit that law itself is a privilege for only legal
professionals …we think, such point of view is at least a
little bit arrogant. What is more, such an understanding of
legal culture, in our opinion, may lead to understanding
law as a technical category, just as a product of the
activities of public authorities. And as a result law will be
reduced to some regulatory machine, a machine for legal
professionals, stamping uniform legal formsfor very
diversed material of human behavior. Law will turn into a
technical legal unit, mainly forming order, designed to
basically more or less adequate (from the point of view of
professionallawyers) form of solution of business
In the context of the analyzed opinion it would be
interesting to use a small etymological experiment, that
has been held by the Hungerian scientist Csaba Varga
while he was analyzing the understanding of legal culture
and its components by some European and American
lawyers. The Hungarian scientist ironically says that
frankly the word law in English languageis a synonym
to a word rulå or rule of law , etymologically originating
from the verb to rule . The German analog of the norm of
law sounds like Recht, it means law and is made from the
verb Regel – to regulate. Thus, the author draws our
attention to the difference in understanding of the law as
a phenomenon even at the stage of registration the
linguistic concepts.
This alltakes us to the basic cultural dominant of the
society, which, to our mind, forms legal culture of a
particular society. Language is only a part of a culture.
Words, expressions are used only to formalize what has
already been firmly entrenched and has received
sociocultural confirmation. Taking this into consideration
we can easily understand why professor Van Hook, as a
true representative of his society, talking about legal
culture, gives primacy to the the lawyers' part of it and
why legal culture and law in general are understood
differently in different societies. In many countries in
Western Europe, law is considered to be a formalized
phenomenon and at present it is often considered to be
quite different from the philosophical and mental ideals.
Understanding of legal culture in such situation is also
very technical. There is a priority of procedural law, the
phenomenon of individualization of law through the
recognition of judicial precedent as a main source of law
in Anglo-Saxon legal family. We tend to agree with M.
Sigalov who expresses an opinion about the existing
differences in legal ideology of the Roman-Germanic and
Anglo-Saxon legal cultures: Legal ideology of RomanoGermanic law is based on the principle of collectivism
( citizen is part of society ). So the right of a citizen must
obey the public interest... The ideology of AngloAmerican societyis based on the principle of
individualism ( society is a collection of individuals ) and
it is believed that a citizen's right should be protected,
even if this will make harm to society in general
[7]. Protecting the interests of the individual and the
World Appl. Sci. J., 29 (10): 1248-1250, 2014
self-ownership priorityprinciple and forgetting that law
itself is first of all a philosophically filled category leads to
formalization of the law and legal culture in general.
We should say, that theory and philosophy of law
are much less prestigious in the legal systems which
represent Anglo-Saxon legal family. To our mind, this is
because of the above-described instrumental approach
to the law as a phenomenon. Nevertheless, many members
of the scientific community in these countries are also
analyzing law as a part of general culture. Thus, Naomi
Mezy, professor oflaw of GeorgetownUniversity, says
that,it is much easier to understand law as an antipode to
culture,of course. Because law, at first glance, appears
easier to grasp if considered in opposition to culture-as
the articulated rules and rights set forth in constitutions,
statutes, judicial opinions, the formality of dispute
resolution and the foundation of social order. But,
nevertheless, the law is thought, understood and most
importantly, put into practice, only being an integral part
of the general culture and interacting with its illegal
content [8].
So, the understanding and filling of studied category
directly depends on the general culture of a particular
society. Various insinuations on legal culture because of
which the spiritual, cultural component is expelled from its
turn out to
be consequence
misunderstanding of the specified statements and as a
result lead to crisis of positive law and public authority.
Accually, we will never make law regularation
effective if we forget that in the social world there is
always something that does not fit the stereotyped logical
norms, can not be forcasted and does not fulfil the
positive laws even if they are strongly persuading. In this
case the use of the formula of understanding any social
event presented by the S.L.Frank is methodologically
suitable. According to this scientist, a social event is the
objective real idea that you can not study impersonally
but should empathize and share. The understanding of
the fact that a law act is a social act that has been created
by the socio-cultural reality first of all means that spiritual,
judgemental and intuitive - architype components,that can
not and do not need to be rationally studied, should be
also included in the category of legal culture. However, by
including them in the category of legal culture, we will
achieve our goals and accept the presence of out-ofrational-intuitive-level in legal culture that is responsible
for the estimation and intuitive acception or declination of
positive law.
David Nelken. Using the concept of legal culture
URL: http://escholarship. org/uc/item/ 7dk1j 7 hm #
pp: 1.
Hegel, G.W.F., 1990. Thephilosophy of law. M.
Misl., pp: 59.
Hegel Hegel G.W.F. Thephilosophy of law. M. Misl.
1990. P. 57.
G.W.F. Thephilosophy of law. M. Misl. 1990. pp: 57.
Mark van Hook. Law as communication / Translated
by Antonov and Polyakov. – Spb.: Publishing House
SPBSU, LLE University Publishing Consortium
2012. pp: 84.
Sinukova. T., 2009. Legal culture: term, structure,
relations between national and human. Legal Culture.
2: 15
Sigalov, M., 2006. General and the particular in
Western and Muslim legal culture. Dissertation for
phD. M. pp: 124-125.
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