Law and Society

Ects : 6
Compétence à acquérir :
Far from being an autonomous and neutral sphere, law is a social activity connected with many different actors and institutions. Based on insights from the sociology of law and the law and society traditions, our course examines the interplay between the formal legal sphere and society at large. We will show that legal outcomes are shaped by political struggles, professions, or the interests of large organizations. Conversely, legal phenomena are crucial in explaining various social dynamics such as gender relations, globalization, or social movements. While some sessions will cover broad theoretical or methodological issues, most of them will explore the relation between law and one specific social field. To foster a critical examination of legal action and legal institutions, we combine discussions of major scholarly contributions and the examination of rich empirical material such as visual artifacts, archives, or ethnographic data drawn from our own research.
Mode de contrôle des connaissances :
Assignments Multiple-Choice Questionnaires 10-15 questions on the readings and the core concepts covered in the course. Three MCQs are scheduled during the semester. They will take place during the following sessions: 4, 8, and 11. Typically, each MCQ will ask questions about the three previous sessions. Book Report You should write a report on one of the books listed below. A book memo is a review, i.e. a critical evaluation of the book. Above all, a review makes an argument: it is a commentary, not merely a summary. Thus do not write a summary-style “book report” just to show you read and understood the book! Take a systematic, analytical approach to the text. The required length is 1500 words (+/-10%). The deadline for turning in the book report is session 6 (10 February).
Group Essay on a Hot Topic Teams of 3 or 4 students write an essay on a current sociolegal issue. The students should address the topic using concepts introduced in the course. We recommend grounding the essay on material found in the press, social media, documentaries etc. The essay should be 2000 words long (+/- 10%). The deadline for these essays is the last session (31 March).
Grading weights - Multiple-Choice Questionnaires: 30%
- Book Report: 35%
- Group Essay: 35%

Description du contenu de l'enseignement :
Far from being an autonomous and neutral sphere, law is a social activity connected with many different actors and institutions. Based on insights from the sociology of law and the law and society traditions, our course examines the interplay between the formal legal sphere and society at large. We will show that legal outcomes are shaped by political struggles, professions, or the interests of large organizations. Conversely, legal phenomena are crucial in explaining various social dynamics such as gender relations, globalization, or social movements. While some sessions will cover broad theoretical or methodological issues, most of them will explore the relation between law and one specific social field. To foster a critical examination of legal action and legal institutions, we combine discussions of major scholarly contributions and the examination of rich empirical material such as visual artifacts, archives, or ethnographic data drawn from our own research.

Bibliographie, lectures recommandées
1/ Introduction (6 January) [TA]
Mandatory reading Friedman L. M., 2005, “Coming of Age: Law and Society Enters an Exclusive Club”, Annual Review of Law and Social Science, 1, n°1, p. 1-16.
Further reading
Friedman L. M., 1986, “The Law & Society Movement”, Stanford Law Review, 38, n° 3, p. 763-780. Garth B., Sterling J., 1998, “From Legal Realism to Law and Society: Reshaping Law for the Last Stages of the Activist State”, Law & Society Review, 32, n° 2, p. 409-472.
2/ Law and the Rise of Industrial Society (13 January) [SB]
Mandatory reading
Durkheim, Emile (1997), The Division of Labour in Society, The Free Press, 50-52, 68-70 Weber, Max (1978), Economy and society, University of California at Berkeley Press, 882-886
Further reading
Marx, Karl (1842), “Debates on the Law on Thefts of Wood” Erikson, Kai. 1966, “The Witches of Salem Village,” in Wayward Puritans, New York, John Wiley and Sons, pp. 137–159. 3/ Social norms/Legal norms (20 January) [GM] Mandatory reading Becker Howard Saul, Chapter « Rules and their enforcement » in Outsiders. Studies in Sociology of Deviance, The free Press of Glencoe, 1963, p.121-146. Further reading Malinowski, Bronislaw, 1947 [1926]. Crime and Custom in Savage Society. London: Kegan Paul, Trench, Trubner & Co. 4/ Legal Consciousness (27 January) [TA] /!\ MCQ n°1 Mandatory reading Ewick P., Silbey S., 1998, The Common Place of Law: Stories From Everyday Life, Chicago, University of Chicago Press. Excerpts p. 15-23 and 33-49. Further reading Cornut St-Pierre P., 2019, “Investigating Legal Consciousness through the Technical Work of Elite Lawyers: A Case Study on Tax Avoidance”, Law & Society Review, 53, n° 2, p. 323-352. Felstiner W. L. F., Abel R. L., Sarat A., 1980-1981, “The Emergence and Transformation of Disputes: Naming, Blaming, Claiming”, Law & Society Review, 15, n° 3-4, p. 631-654.