Skip to main content

Unit information: Social and Legal Theory in 2015/16

Please note: you are viewing unit and programme information for a past academic year. Please see the current academic year for up to date information.

Unit name Social and Legal Theory
Unit code LAWDM0083
Credit points 20
Level of study M/7
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 4 (weeks 1-24)
Unit director Dr. Sargoni
Open unit status Open




School/department University of Bristol Law School
Faculty Faculty of Social Sciences and Law

Description including Unit Aims

This unit provides a core element in the MSc in Socio-Legal Research. It concentrates on a range of social theory with a particular focus on law. The unit covers a limited number of theorists and theoretical genres/approaches, introducing students to some important aspects of this work, and how this has been picked up and utilised in socio-legal studies. The theories/theorists studied vary but may include: Marxism; Weber; Durkheim; Foucault; Bourdieu; Luhman; Feminist, Masculinity and Sexuality Theory

Intended Learning Outcomes

By the end of the unit, a successful student will be able to:

a) lay out the core elements of a range of different approaches to the study of law within social theory

b) critically analyse different theoretical approaches to law

c) understand the contribution of different social theories in understanding key areas of law

d) select the most appropriate theoretical and methodological approaches for their own research.

e) Students should be able to summarise theoretical tenets accurately, to contrast and compare theoretical principles from different theorists, and to think critically about the implications each theory has for law and legal institutions in a modern context.

The coursework essay of 5,000 words will be based on a choice of questions, each of which will be structured in such a way as to allow sufficient space for the student to fully develop their understanding of a particular social theory or theories in relation to socio-legal studies.

Teaching Information

Ten two hour seminars

Assessment Information

One piece of coursework of 5,000 words in length.

This assessment will assess all of the intended learning outcomes for this unit.

Reading and References

  • R Cotterell, The Sociology of Law, London: Butterworths, 1992
  • R Banakar & M Travers (eds), An Introduction to Law and Social Theory, Oxford: Hart, 2002
  • A Hunt, Explorations in Law and Society: Toward a Constitutive Theory of Law, London: Routledge, 1993
  • A Hunt & G Wickham, Foucault and Law: Towards a Sociology of Law as Governance, London: Pluto, 1994