Faculty of Law

Monash University

Undergraduate - Unit

This unit entry is for students who completed this unit in 2013 only. For students planning to study the unit, please refer to the unit indexes in the the current edition of the Handbook. If you have any queries contact the managing faculty for your course or area of study.

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6 points, SCA Band 3, 0.125 EFTSL

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FacultyFaculty of Law
OfferedClayton First semester 2013 (Day)


The unit examines: the notion of 'social theory' and its relevance to an understanding of the law; history, industrial society and 'modernity'; law, and the rule of law, as a social phenomenon; law and social solidarity (Durkheim); law as a system of social rules (Hart, Dworkin, Critical Legal Studies); Marxist analysis of law; criticisms of the Marxist analysis (Thompson, Williams, Krygier, Cohen, Rawls); post-Marxist critical approaches to law (Habermas, Foucault); law and modernity (Weber).


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 social theoretic scholarship, and of the theoretical and methodological underpinnings that distinguish research and scholarship in the social sciences and humanities from research in law
  4. the ability to read and to critically engage with primary texts in the social theoretic tradition
  5. the capacity to engage in sustained critical analysis in written assessment work.


Research essay (3000 words): 60%
Examination (2 hours writing time plus 10 minutes reading/ settling time): 40%

Chief examiner(s)

Contact hours

Three hours of lectures per week.


LAW1100 or LAW1101 and LAW1102 or LAW1104 OR ATS2868/3868, ATS2869/3869 OR ATS2905/3905