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Law in Society introduces students to theories, concepts, forms and practices of law in contemporary Australian society. It will provide a foundation both for socio-legal studies subjects in later years and for subjects in disciplines such as politics, criminology and law. In preparing students to engage critically with law, the subject looks at the ways that "harm" is constructed as a legal category. It encourages students to ask who is able to name something as either harmful, or not worthy of state intervention, and how this capacity to name effects socio-political relations. To develop this analysis, the subject discusses the norms that underpin the capacity to name particular practices as harmful, and engages critically with certain historical and current harms. Examples of such harms might include treachery, riot and disorder, terrorism, payback, the Northern Territory Emergency Response, torture, sado-masochistic sex acts, or female circumcision.
Intended learning outcomes
On completion of this subject students should:
- Identify the major sociological perspectives and understandings of law in contemporary Australia society;
- Use and understand key concepts and terms within sociological explanations of law in society;
- Communicate sociological knowledge related to law in society effectively in written formats;
- Have a foundation for later-year subjects in disciplines such as sociology, politics, criminology, legal studies and law.
Last updated: 30 July 2023