WG Social Systems & Legal Systems

The following statement was written by Vittorio Olgiati in September 2006 for the old RCSL Website:

The ISA-RCSL Working Group ‘Social Systems & Legal Systems’ was created by a Adam Podgorecki, a father-founder of the ISA-RCSL, in late 1970’s to continue and enlarge the scientific work of a previous WG ‘Sociological Approaches to Law’, which, in turn, stemmed from an earlier WG  ‘Theoretical Hypotheses in Sociology of Law’, also founded and chaired by Adam Podgorecki at the beginning of the 1960’s .

Under the scientific guidance of Adam Podgorecki the research programme of the WG ‘Social Systems & Legal Systems’ was systematically oriented to shed light on the interconnections between societal layers and legal arrangements, operations, mechanisms, etc. Within this framework, a particular effort was made to develop comparative analyses on what Podgorecki called the ‘intersocietal level’ that mutually links one to the other – often by virtue of hidden structures and in the course of long-term evolutionary trends – the many different symbolic and material dimensions of any given social dynamics.

Due to health reasons, Adam Podgorecki formally resigned the WG’s chair in 1997. At the ISA-RCSL Annual Meeting, held in Antwerpen the same year, I was elected as new WG chairperson. In that occasion, WG’s members confirmed unanimously the importance of the WG  as an institutional scientific promoter, as well as its thematic “specialization” vis-à-vis other ISA-RCSL’s WGs.

In turn, to relate the WG scientific agenda to emerging law-and-society issues accordingly, in that occasion it was agreed to devote priority to study and research on those socio-legal variables whose impact apparently requires a systematic up-to-dating of traditional hypotheses or the development of new approaches. Along with this premise, it has been decided to focus on a general issue worth of a renewed social-scientific concern given the increasing problematic state of both its functioning and modelisation at both local and global level: that of constitutions and constitutionalism. To give evidence of the substantial continuity with Adam Podgorecki’s scientific legacy within the ISA-RCSL, the WG’s new research programme was thus labelled “Sociological Approaches to Constitutional Law”.     

Since the above mentioned Antwerpen RCSL meeting, a number of variables of different types of constitutional law and constitutional systems in different countries have been examined, according to an amazing variety of analytical perspectives, in the course of any subsequent annual WG sessions, ISA World Congresses’ sessions in Montreal, Brisbane and Durban included. A special Workshop was also held at the Onati-IISL on May 2002.  

Needless to say, neither those discussions, nor present state-of-the-art on the above mentioned topic could cover the whole range of problems and issues that the fieldwork implies at present.

Prof. Vittorio Olgiati
Urbino, September 2006 

Some additional material may be found on the old RCSL Website.

Transferred from the old RCSL Website on 3 January 2024