18 August 2018
Law, Society and Politics in Comparative Perspective
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, Weber and Marx), and consider their relevance to contemporary debates about morality, (dis)obedience, and conflict. Next, we investigate the role and operation of law in totalitarian settings such as Nazi and Communist Germany. Finally, we consider the difficulties that such legacies pose for democracy, the rule of law, and the economy in post-totalitarian societies. In this context, we examine the need for ‘transitional justice’, the relationship between law and the market, and the challenges posed by freedom of speech.
Overall, the course aims to develop skills at using theory and history to inform debates on contemporary challenges, such as multiculturalism, punishment, (illegal) downloading/streaming/file-sharing, 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.
Prof. Dr. Helen Hartnell
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.
The grade for this course will be based on:
35% class attendance and participation
35% 2 written protocols or 1 protocol + 1 oral in-class presentation
30% written final examination
EUR 1100: Tuition
EUR 250: Program fee