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Law in Social Theory builds upon issues introduced in Law in Society, and Law, Justice and Social Change. Through a seminar-style format, it examines the theories of the function and role of law propounded by a range of social and legal theorists and movements, including Jürgen Habermas, Niklas Luhmann, Patricia Williams, Pierre Bourdieu, Catharine McKinnon, and others. Students examine these different theories of how law works and law's role, using them as a lens on questions of justice and crime. Each week these theories are considered in light of and tested against contemporary criminological and socio-legal problems selected by the students and the lecturer. Case studies in the past have included Indigenous Constitutional Recognition, the Royal Commission into Institutional Child Sexual Abuse, and the Review of the Australian Defence Force's Treatment of Women. The purpose of the course is thus two-fold: to become familiar with different theories of the function of law in relation to society, and to consider the insight these theories bring to different criminological and socio-legal problems.
Intended learning outcomes
On completion of this subject students should:
- have knowledge of the theories of the role of law propounded by a range of social and legal theorists and theoretical movements;
- consider the insight these theories bring, and their potentials and limitations, in relation to different criminological and socio-legal problems;
- consider the use of theory in understanding law and its operation;
- communicate effectively in oral and written formats.
Last updated: 6 December 2019