Law in Social Theory

Subject 191-301 (2009)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2009. Search for this in the current handbook

Credit Points: 12.50
Level: 3 (Undergraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject has the following teaching availabilities in 2009:

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 1.5-hour lecture and a 1-hour tutorial per week
Total Time Commitment: 2.5 contact hours/week , 6 additional hours/week. Total of 8.5 hours per week.
Prerequisites: Recommended: completion of Level 1 Law in Society and Level 2 Law, Justice and Social Change
Corequisites: None
Recommended Background Knowledge: None
Non Allowed Subjects: None
Core Participation Requirements:

For the purposes of considering request for Reasonable Adjustments under the Disability Standards for Education (Cwth 2005), and Student Support and Engagement Policy, academic requirements for this subject are articulated in the Subject Overview, Learning Outcomes, Assessment and Generic Skills sections of this entry.

It is University policy to take all reasonable steps to minimise the impact of disability upon academic study, and reasonable adjustments will be made to enhance a student's participation in the University's programs. Students who feel their disability may impact on meeting the requirements of this subject are encouraged to discuss this matter with a Faculty Student Adviser and Student Equity and Disability Support:


Dr Jennifer Balint


Dr. Jennifer 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.
  • have knowledge of the theories of the role of law propounded by such writers as Durkheim, Parsons, Marx, Weber, Foucault and others;
  • know the relationship between law and other disciplines such as sociology, political theory, cultural studies;
  • have examined the emergence of the legal profession, its structure and politics;
  • have examined the idea of law as culture and examined cultural studies of law, focusing on modes of interpretation and the production of meaning.
Assessment: Written assessment 30% (due during semester), a Class Presentation and Report 20% (due during semester) and a take home exam 50% (due during the examination Period).
Prescribed Texts: None
Breadth Options:

This subject potentially can be taken as a breadth subject component for the following courses:

You should visit learn more about breadth subjects and read the breadth requirements for your degree, and should discuss your choice with your student adviser, before deciding on your subjects.

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 191-301. Students who have completed 191-301 are not eligible to enrol in this subject.

Available as a Breadth subject

Related Course(s): Bachelor of Public Policy and Management
Diploma in Arts (Criminology)
Graduate Certificate in Criminology
Related Majors/Minors/Specialisations: Anthropology and Social Theory
Criminology Major
Social Theory
Socio-legal Studies Major
Sociology Major

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