Germany, Berlin

Law, Society and Politics in Comparative Perspective

when 23 July 2016 - 20 August 2016
duration 4 weeks
credits 4 ECTS
fee EUR 900

This course explores theoretical and historical perspectives on the intersection of law, society and politics, and aims to foster discussion of contemporary issues among students from different cultures and disciplines. After an introduction to comparative law and legal culture, we read some classical social theorists (Durkheim, Marx and Weber), and consider their relevance to contemporary debates about morality, social conflict, legitimacy, and the market. Next, we examine the role of law in Nazi and Communist Germany, and consider the challenges faced by revolutionary and post-totalitarian societies. Finally, we explore the limits (if any) on the exercise of rights, in particular, freedom of speech and freedom of association.

Overall, the course aims to develop skills at using theory and history to inform debates on contemporary challenges, such as multiculturalism, (illegal) downloading, squatting, and economic development. In addition to gaining substantive expertise in various socio- and politico-legal fields, students develop communicative competence through participatory exercises, and intercultural competence through discussion with other students.

Course leader

Prof. Dr. Helen Hartnell

Target group

This course is designed for all students with an interest in social sciences – in particular, sociology or political science – or in law. It is designed as an undergraduate class, but the variety of students taking this course typically ranges from first-year students to post-graduate students. This experiential diversity provides unique opportunities for students to learn from one another.

Credits info

The grade for this course will be based on:

class participation exercises 40%
an in-class presentation (10-15 minutes) 30%
and a written final exam 30%

Fee info

EUR 900: Tuition
EUR 250: Program fee