As an instrument of social change, law entails two interrelated processes: the institutionalization and the internalization of patterns of behavior.
- Institutionalization of a pattern of behavior refers to the establishment of a norm with provisions for its enforcement (such as desegregation of public schools).
- Internalization of a pattern of behavior means the incorporation of the value or values implicit in a law (eg. Integrated public schools are ‘good’). The extent to which law can provide an effective impetus for social change varies according to the conditions present in a particular situation. Evan suggests that a law is likely to be successful to induce change if it meets the following seven conditions:
- Law must emanate from an authoritative and prestigious source
- Law must introduce its rationale in terms that are understandable and compatible with existing values
- Advocates of the change should make reference to other communities or countries with which the population identifies and where the law is already in effect
- Enforcement of the law must be aimed at making the change in a relatively short time
- Those enforcing the law must themselves be very much committed to the change intended by the law
- The instrumentation of the law should include positive as well as negative sanctions
- The enforcement of the law should be reasonable, not only in the sanctions used but also in the protection of the rights of those who stand to lose by violation
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