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Unit information: Social and Legal Theory in 2018/19

Please note: you are viewing unit and programme information for a past academic year. Please see the current academic year for up to date information.

Unit name Social and Legal Theory
Unit code LAWDM0083
Credit points 20
Level of study M/7
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 4 (weeks 1-24)
Unit director Dr. Katie Cruz
Open unit status Not open
Pre-requisites

None

Co-requisites

LAWDM0084

School/department University of Bristol Law School
Faculty Faculty of Social Sciences and Law

Description

This unit provides a core element in the MSc in Socio-Legal Research. It concentrates on a range of social theory with a particular focus on law. The unit covers a limited number of theorists and theoretical genres/approaches, introducing students to some important aspects of this work, and how this has been picked up and utilised in socio-legal studies. The theories/theorists studied vary but may include: Marxism; Weber; Durkheim; Foucault; Bourdieu; Luhmann; Feminist, Masculinity and Sexuality Theory.

The aim of the course is to enable students to describe and evaluate a range of different approaches to the study of law within social theory thereby enabling them to select the most appropriate theoretical and methodological approaches for their own future research.

Intended learning outcomes

By the end of the unit, a successful student will be able to:

  • Critically analyse at least two different theoretical approaches to law, such as doctrinal, normative, functional, critical, and emancipatory;
  • Identify and evaluate the contribution of at least two different social theories in understanding key areas of law, such as administrative law, the judiciary, private law;
  • Summarise theoretical tenets accurately; to compare and compare theoretical principles from at least two different theorists or groups of theories; and to think critically about the implications each theory has for law and legal institutions in a modern context.

Teaching details

Ten two hour seminars

Assessment Details

One piece of coursework of 5,000 words in length.

This assessment will assess all of the intended learning outcomes for this unit.

Reading and References

There are no set texts for this course but the following books may be a promising starting point:

  • R Cotterrell, The Sociology of Law (Butterworths 1992)
  • R Banakar & M Travers (eds), An Introduction to Law and Social Theory (Hart 2002)
  • A Hunt, Explorations in Law and Society: Toward a Constitutive Theory of Law, (Routledge 1993)
  • P Ireland & I Grigg Spall, Critical Lawyers’ Handbook Vol 1 & 2 (Pluto Press 1992, 1997)

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