From birth certificates and marriage licenses to food safety regulations and speed limits, law shapes nearly every moment of our lives. Ubiquitous and ambivalent, the law is charged with both maintaining social order and protecting individual freedom. In this book, Cynthia L. Cates and Wayne V. McIntosh explore this ambivalence and document the complex relationship between the web of law and everyday life. They consider the forms and functions of the law, charting the American legal structure and judicial process, and explaining key legal roles. They then detail how it influences the development of individual identity and human relationships at every stage of our life cycle, from conception to the grave. The authors also use the word "web" in its technological sense, providing a section at the end of each chapter that directs students to relevant and useful Internet sites. Written for upper-level undergraduate and graduate students in law and society courses, "Law and the Web of Society" contains original research that also makes it useful to scholars. In daring to ask difficult questions such as "When does life begin?" and "Where does law begin?" this book will stimulate thought and debate even as it presents practical answers.
Cynthia L. Cates is associate professor of political science at Towson University, where her teaching specialty is the law and includes a class in the law on-line. She is co-author, with Wayne V. McIntosh, of Judicial Entrepreneurship: The Role of the Judge in the Marketplace of Ideas (Greenwood Press, 1997). Wayne V. McIntosh, associate professor and the director of undergraduate programs in the Department of Government and Politics at the University of Maryland, has published widely on the law. His other books include The Appeal of Civil Law: A Political Economic Analysis of Litigation (University of Illinois Press, 1990).