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The Limits of Juristic Power from the Perspective of the Polish Sociological Tradition


Paweł Jabłoński and Przemysław Kaczmarek

The aim of the book is to outline and discuss a way of thinking about the limits of juristic power. In terms of research methodology, the authors’ approach entails relating the topography of such limits to selected theoretical frameworks developed within the Polish sociological tradition. The argument draws, above all, on the works of Leon Petrażycki, Jerzy Lande, Bronisław Wróblewski, Adam Podgórecki, Florian Znaniecki, Jacek Szmatka, and Piotr Sztompka. Striving to have each aspect shed light on the other, the authors seek out theoretical arguments which support their account of these limits. They present their model of the limits of juristic power, which includes the following constitutive factors: 1) politico-legal culture, 2) legal texts, 3) juristic culture, and 4) subjective factors (i.e. an individual, axiological sense rooted in ethical and aesthetic judgments)

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Part Two Three conceptions of individual agency in the world of institutions


1 Agency in institutions – in the conceptions of Florian Znaniecki, Jacek Szmatka and Piotr Sztompka: introductory remarks

The main research hypothesis of our project assumes that Polish sociological discourse provides a conceptual network that allows us to address the issue of the limits of juristic power, which is conceived of as one aspect of the problem of human activity in institutions. In order to achieve this aim, my research will focus on the projects of three well-known sociologists: Florian Znaniecki, Jacek Szmatka and Piotr Sztompka. To justify this choice, I put forward the following arguments.

Firstly, for all three authors – Znaniecki, Szmatka and Sztompka – the problem of the individual in institutions is a crucial issue. These three researchers authored original projects in this area, which can be read in the light of the question that interests us: namely, what factors determine the decisions made by those who fulfill institutional roles?

Secondly, according Sztompka, the sociological discourse of the 20th century, and the beginning of the 21st, can be described by distinguishing three sociologies: structuralist, interactive and that of everyday life, each of which presents individual agency in the world of institutions in a different way. The conception of social role presented by Szmatka can be assigned to the structuralist trend. In turn, the conception of social role advocated by Znaniecki is closer to the approach of interactionism. Then Sztompka’s treatment of culture as praxis would sit well with supporters of the sociology...

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