Law in Social Theory

Subject 191-301 (2008)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2008.Search for this in the current handbook

Credit Points: 12.500
Level: Undergraduate
Dates & Locations:

This subject has the following teaching availabilities in 2008:

Semester 2, - Taught on campus.
Pre-teaching Period Start not applicable
Teaching Period not applicable
Assessment Period End not applicable
Last date to Self-Enrol not applicable
Census Date not applicable
Last date to Withdraw without fail not applicable


Timetable can be viewed here. For information about these dates, click here.
Time Commitment: Contact Hours: A 1-hour lecture and a 1.5-hour seminar per week
Total Time Commitment: *
Prerequisites: Completion of 37.5 points of second-year socio-legal studies.
Corequisites: *
Recommended Background Knowledge: *
Non Allowed Subjects: *
Core Participation Requirements: *


Dr J Balint
Subject Overview:

Law in Social Theory builds upon issues introduced in Law in Society, and Law, Justice and Social Change. It examines the theories of the function and role of law propounded by such writers as Durkheim, Marx, Weber, Habermas, Kennedy, Derrida and others. Students examine these different theories of how law works and law's role in relation to society. Each week, the potentials and limitations of these theories are considered in light of and tested against contemporary socio-legal problems selected by the students and the lecturer. Students conceptualise their chosen case study through the perspective of particular theorists. Case studies in the past have included the Ok Tedi Mining disaster, the David Hicks trial, asylum seekers, the Mabo decision, the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, the Oslo Peace Accords, spearing and Aboriginal customary law, corporate manslaughter, honour killings, the use of art experts in the courtroom, prostitution legislation. 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 give to different socio-legal problems.

Assessment: Written assessment 25% (due during semester), an oral examination 55% (due during the examination period) and class presentation 20%.
Prescribed Texts: *
Recommended Texts:

Information Not Available

Breadth Options: This subject is a level 2 or level 3 subject and is not available to new generation degree students as a breadth option in 2008.
This subject or an equivalent will be available as breadth in the future.
Breadth subjects are currently being developed and these existing subject details can be used as guide to the type of options that might be available.
2009 subjects to be offered as breadth will be finalised before re-enrolment for 2009 starts in early October.
Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date
Generic Skills:
  • have highly developed cognitive, analytical and problem-solving skills;

  • have an advanced understanding of complex concepts and the ability to express them lucidly in writing and orally;

  • have sophisticated awareness of cultural, ethnic and gender diversities and their implications;

  • have an ability to plan work and to use time effectively.


Formerly available as 191-210. Students who have completed 191-210 are not eligible to enrol in this subject.

Related Course(s): Bachelor of Arts
Bachelor of Public Policy and Management
Diploma in Arts (Criminology)
Graduate Certificate in Arts (Anthropology and Social Theory)
Graduate Certificate in Criminology
Graduate Diploma in Arts (Anthropology and Social Theory)
Graduate Diploma in Arts (Criminology)

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