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LAW4130 - Law and social theory 406

6 points, SCA Band 3, 0.125 EFTSL

Undergraduate Faculty of Law

Leader: Semester Two: Patrick Emerton


Clayton Second semester 2007 (Day)


The notion of 'social theory' and its relevance to an understanding of the law. Law and social solidarity (Durkheim). Law as a system of social rules (Hart, Dworkin, Critical Legal Studies). Marxist analyses of law. Post-Marxist critical approaches to law (Habermas, Foucault). The idea of the basic structure (Rawls). Law and modernity (Weber). Anthropology of law. Law and globalisation. Law and justice.


Students will acquire or develop

  1. an awareness of the significance of social theory to the understanding of law as a social phenomenon;
  2. a familiarity with a number of classical and contemporary social theoretical approaches with implications for the study of legal topics;
  3. an awareness of the nature of socio-legal scholarship and the different theoretical and methodogical assumptions that distinguish research and scholarship in law from that done in the social sciences and humanities; and
  4. the capacity to undertake independent research on a socio-legal topic and to engage in sustained critical analysis in written assessment work.


Research essay (4000 words): 50%
Examination (2 hours writing time plus 10 minutes reading/ settling time): 50%

Contact hours

Three hours of lectures per week.


LAW1100 or LAW1101 and LAW1102 or LAW1104