Introduction to Socio-Legal Studies and Legal Theory

Course number: LAW 3980 

SYLLABUS: Download 


Law is at least as much an object of social analysis as it is an object of doctrinal analysis. Broaching the study of legal rules, norms, and institutions through a contextual and multidisciplinary lens, this course provides a theoretically reinforced introduction to law-and-society scholarship. Students are familiarized with core debates through engagement with a variety of competing schools and traditions: legal positivism, legal realism, the Frankfurt School, critical legal studies, and legal pluralism, as well as Marxist, post-structuralist, feminist, and field-analytic approaches to legal theory. Students are also introduced to a select group of debates in comparative and international law – two fields of particular importance to contemporary developments in socio-legal studies.

For further details, please see the syllabus.


Paper: 60%

Class participation: 20%

Response note: 10%

Presentation: 10% 


Most of the required readings for this course are available online or in electronic form via the University of Manitoba’s library catalogue. Copies of readings that are not available online or via the library catalogue will be distributed in advance. Please see the syllabus for details.


The recommended (though not required) texts for this course are Reza Banakar and Max Travers, eds., Law and Social Theory, 2nd ed. (Oxford: Hart, 2013), George Pavlich, Law and Society Redefined (Don Mills: Oxford University Press, 2010), and Roger Cotterrell, Law, Culture, and Society: Legal Ideas in the Mirror of Social Theory (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2006). Limited quantities of each are available for purchase at the university bookstore. All three are available in print at the university library, with the Cotterrell volume also being accessible electronically via the library catalogue.


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