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Law & society - LAW00068M

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  • Department: The York Law School
  • Module co-ordinator: Prof. Simon Halliday
  • Credit value: 20 credits
  • Credit level: M
  • Academic year of delivery: 2020-21

Module summary

This module introduces students to some of the key topics and themes that have been studied within Law & Society scholarship – a body of social scientific research that has explored law’s functioning within society.

Module will run

Occurrence Teaching cycle
A Spring Term 2020-21

Module aims

This module introduces students to some of the key topics and themes that have been studied within Law & Society scholarship – a body of social scientific research that has explored law’s functioning within society. These key topics include: the emergence and resolution of disputes; the social reality of lawyering; judicial decision-making; regulation and enforcement; legal consciousness. 

Students will develop their abilities to move beyond an understanding of law as merely a system of rules and doctrines and, instead, critically analyse law as a social phenomenon – one that influences, and is influenced by, society.

Students will develop their ability to read critically, to develop their own ideas about law’s relationship to society, to discuss those ideas with students and staff, and, ultimately, to present those ideas in written form.

Module learning outcomes

Upon successful completion of this module, you should be able to:

Subject content

  • Critically evaluate key ideas within Law & Society scholarship;
  • Demonstrate a critical understanding of law’s functioning within society;
  • Critically assess the development and purpose of law and its interrelationship with society and other disciplines;

Academic and graduate skills

  • Identify, retrieve and discriminate among sources of information relevant to questions about law and society;
  • Synthesise and analyse a variety of information sources to develop further knowledge, construct arguments, draw conclusions supported by appropriate authority, and evaluate the merits of alternative arguments.

Module content

The sorts of issues that you will encounter may include:

1.    Emergence and Resolution of Disputes 

2.    Lawyers and Legal Work

3.    Judicial Decision-Making 

4.    Courts and social change 

5.    Organisations and Law 

6.    Regulation and Compliance 

7.    Actor network theory and the analysis of legal processes 

8.    Legal consciousness

9.    Legal pluralism

Assessment

Task Length % of module mark
Essay/coursework
Essay
N/A 100

Special assessment rules

None

Reassessment

Task Length % of module mark
Essay/coursework
Essay
N/A 100

Module feedback

Students will receive feedback on their Formative assessment (an essay plan) by the end of the Spring Term (allowing them to use this in preparing their Summative assessment over the Spring vacation). Feedback on their Summative Assessment will be given not more than 4 weeks after its submission. All feedback will be written with the opportunity for the students to follow this up in a one-to-one meeting.

Indicative reading

Cotterrell, R. (2002) ”Subverting Orthodoxy, Making Law Central: A View of Sociolegal Studies” Journal of Law & Society, vol. 29, no, 4, pp. 632–44

Cowan D. and Wincott D.(eds) Exploring the ‘Legal’ in Socio-legal Studies (London: Palgrave, 2016),

Kagan, R. A. (1995) “What socio-legal scholars should do when there is too much law to study” Journal of Law and Society, 22(1), 140-148

Larson E. and Schmidt P. (eds) The Law and Society Reader II (New York: NYU Press, 2014)

Vago S. and Barken S. Law & Society, 11th edition (Abingdon, Routledge, 2016) 

 



The information on this page is indicative of the module that is currently on offer. The University is constantly exploring ways to enhance and improve its degree programmes and therefore reserves the right to make variations to the content and method of delivery of modules, and to discontinue modules, if such action is reasonably considered to be necessary by the University. Where appropriate, the University will notify and consult with affected students in advance about any changes that are required in line with the University's policy on the Approval of Modifications to Existing Taught Programmes of Study.