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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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These analyses of the Polish sociological tradition, in which we distinguished two circles, i.e. sociological-legal and sociological discourse, allow several conclusions to be formulated. These conclusions concern the proposed conception of the limits of juristic power proposed in the introductory chapter.

First, with regard to the majority of the concepts we have discussed, in the two discourses mentioned above one can find equivalents of the four limits of juristic power distinguished in the introductory chapter, namely politico-legal culture, legal text, juristic/professional culture and the individual axiological sense. However, it should be stipulated that the degree to which these factors are explicitly covered differs not only due to the concepts under consideration, but also the discourses under analysis. An example of this is the broader treatment of law understood as legal text in sociological-legal discourse than in sociological discourse. At the same time, both of the discussed discourses are united in their appreciation of the importance of professional culture, both for the decisions taken and for the functioning of the institution. It is also worth noting that particularly the fourth of the limits we distinguish is presented in a variety of ways in the analyzed theories. It seems to us, however, that the individual axiological sense, relating to ethical and aesthetic judgments, can be associated with subjective factors concerning who the person performing the role is.

Second, as we have already pointed out in the summaries of individual chapters, the majority of the discussed theories...

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