Hubert Treiber and the Sociology of Law of Max Weber: From the Ideal Types of Legal Rationality to the Plurality of Law


  • Michel Coutu School of Industrial Relations, Université de Montréal (Canada)


Max Weber; Hubert Treiber; Sociology of Law; Rationalities of Law; Legal pluralism.


Informed by an encyclopaedic knowledge not only of Max Weber’s work but also of a large body of relevant legal, social and historical literature, Hubert Treiber has established himself as one of the world’s leading scholars of Weber, in particular of his Sociology of Law. Notably Hubert Treiber defends, being in my opinion absolutely right, Weber’s decisive contribution to legal pluralism, comparable to Eugen Ehrlich’s one, although from a quite different perspective. This position is in contrast to that of several proponents of legal pluralism, who associate Weber with a purely statist vision of law. To understand such a position and avoid errors and misinterpretations, we need however to consider broadly Weber’s insights following, as far as possible, the multiple and complex paths that Treiber himself took. For example, as Treiber argues, Weber’s ideal typical construction of social relations under the category “law” requires an Archimedean point, which is the formal rationality of law, closely associated, at the end of such an historical development, with the efforts of legal abstraction and systematisation by the proponents of Pandectism in modern Germany. In the following text, linked to some of Treiber’s major works, I therefore address first Weber’s analysis of the rationalities of law (I), and then deal with the question of the plurality of law (II), as these two aspects are closely intertwined.