Social Theory of Law

20 Feb 2017 to 3 Mar 2017

The course focuses on the theme of autonomy of law. It provides an introduction to key legal and sociological theories and their understanding of law in society with a particular focus on contemporary social theories that view law as a distinct and separate social phenomenon in modern society. It compares socio-legal theories by analysing their specific terminology and approach in understanding the modern legal system. Furthermore, the module aims at reconstructing stages in the development of social theorising about law and how these theories link with wider discussions in social theory. Topics include a comparison of middle-range and grand social theories of law; Max Weber and his concept of legal rationality; Hans Kelsen's legal positivism; Eugen Ehrlich and legal pluralism; Niklas Luhmann and autopoietic law; Gunther Teubner and reflexive law; Jürgen Habermas' discourse theory of law; John Rawls' theory of justice; and Michel Foucault on law and power.