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         Those Who Made the RCSL

         Jan F. Glastra Van Loon



Jan F. Glastra van Loon (1920-2001) was one of the founders of the RCSL, and president of our organization between 1974 and 1980. When he died October 2001, at the age of 81, he had been in retirement for a long time and most of us outside the Netherlands had lst contact with him. But in his own country, he remained intellectually as politically active until the end. In the words of a Dutch colleague: "The eventful game which Glastra has played here, is probably not so interesting for our colleagues from abroad. He was, after all, not only a moralist and a connoisseur, but also an impassioned intellectual player".

Instead of an obituary, we reprint here the English abstract of a paper given by Glastra van Loon at the RCSL annual meeting in 1988 (and published as "Due pensieri su diritto e societá", Sociologia del Diritto 1989, XVI, 1, 63-69):

"Two thoughts on Law and Society: the author, reflecting upon the role of law in society, rejects both the 'instrumentalist' theory of law and the systems theory of society. The instrumentalist theory sees law exclusively in a functional perspective, as an orienting factor for social actors. This leads to conceiving of law essentially as a tool for domination and to forgetting that law is by far the strongest means through which trust among men is created and preserved. The systems theory of society, which sees social relationships as a mere network of pre-conceived social roles, is refuted on the ground that it ignores the interaction which exists between society and social scientists. Sociological theorizing should certainly aim at reducing complexity, but a theory which does not take into account such interaction, as a result of which social scientists contribute to affecting society, is certainly deceptive. If combined, the instrumental theory of of law and the systems theory of society lead to a neglect of man's capacity to be self-reflective. This turns into a rreductive vision of the role played by law in human relationship."

(Source: RCSL Newsletter Summer 2002)




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