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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Law : Law

Undergraduate Course: Law, Culture and Rights in a Transnational World (LAWS10149)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Law CollegeCollege of Humanities and Social Science
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 10 (Year 3 Undergraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThis course explores the study of law in a transnational world from a social-scientific perspective. It covers key theoretical, empirical and methodological issues involving the nature of law and legal process, the relationship between legal and social science approaches to legal phenomena and the interpretation of law in a social context. It examines the impact of transnational relations and globalisation on law, culture and rights both within nation-states and beyond their boundaries and at a number of levels, incorporating local, national and international domains. Topics to be covered include legal pluralism and human rights, property relations and indigenous people, democracy and governance, citizenship, and gendered perspectives on law.

The core aims and objectives of the course are to develop:

(a) students┐ capacities to engage in a critical analysis of the way law operates at multiple levels, in an age where law and legal institutions now cross local, regional and national boundaries;

(b) conceptual tools for scrutinizing the ways in which states regulate and respond to pluralism in contexts where they can no longer be viewed as the central standpoint from which to analyse law ;

(c) a more nuanced understanding of how local communities and social actors engage with law and how universal categories of rights are implemented, resisted and transformed in ways that take account of the fact that state law is not the only source of power and that ┐culture┐ is a dynamic concept; and

(d) an advanced understanding of the implications of alternative frameworks for producing knowledge that may be applied to the construction of theory and the formulation of research questions.

Course description Indicative teaching programme

Session 1 Law in Context: Social Scientific Approaches to Law
Session 2 Law Beyond the State: Perspectives on Legal Pluralism
Session 3 Pursuing Research and Data Collection: An Ethnographic Perspective
Session 4 Reviewing Human Rights
Session 5 Property Relations: Persons and Things
Session 6 Indigenous People and Property Rights
Session 7 Democracy and Governance: Alternative Perspectives
Session 8 Defining Citizenship: The Inclusionary and Exclusionary Power of Law
Session 9 Accounting for Gender in Social and Legal Studies
Session 10 Engaging with the Transnational: The Role of Law
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Students MUST have passed: Scottish Legal System (LAWS08128) OR Legal Reasoning and Legal System (LAWS08106)
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Information for Visiting Students
Pre-requisitesEvidence of knowledge/study of social science required
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Not being delivered
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. 1. Knowledge and Sources of Law:

    - An understanding of law that goes beyond once centred in the state and national sovereignty
    -An understanding and awareness of the transnational nature of law and what it entails
    -An understanding and awareness of the plural nature of law and what constitutes legal pluralism
    -An understanding of what socio-scientific perspectives bring to the study of law and how they differ from more conventional, doctrinal perspectives
    -An understanding of the range of different sources that may confer legitimacy and authority on ┐law┐ at a number of levels, including local domains.
    -An understanding of how external norms, such as human rights, are incorporated, resisted or accommodated at the local level within populations among states
  2. 2. Subject-specific Skills:
    - An understanding of how culture has been constructed in academic debates
    -An understanding of the ways in which culture and law have been utilised in debates concerning rights
    - An understanding of the implications that western notions of law and culture have had for developing legal regulation in countries in the south (or third world).
    -A capacity to identify a range of methods and techniques that may be utilised to define law in society
    -An understanding of what empirical and ethnographic studies bring to the study of law
  3. 3. General Transferable Intellectual Skills:
    The course aims to provide students with skills in:-
    -developing complex evaluative and critical reasoning
    -developing creative thinking
    -developing an ability to apply knowledge outcomes to complex questions in written and oral form
    -developing students┐ capacities to work co-operatively in groups in tackling class exercises and presenting their findings
    -developing the faculty of assessing and presenting the relative weight to be accorded to arguments
    -using electronic legal and other resources at an advanced level
  4. 4. Key Personal Skills:
    The course aims to provide students with skills in:-
    -developing advanced written communication by way of formative assessment and examination, including the ability to compose written work in conformity with a prescribed format
    -formatting and presentations skills by virtue of word processing
    -fostering oral communication skills developed in seminar discussions and presentations
    -facilitating the capacity to work co-operatives through group work in class exercises that stress the need to accommodate different dynamics with a group and learning to respect the opinions of other people even if there is disagreement.
  5. 5. Subject-specific Legal and Ethical Values:
    The course aims to provide students with:-
    -an awareness of the ethical issues involved in conducting legal research, especially in the south
    -an appreciation of the ways in which law is embedded in broader social and political processes
    -an awareness of the ways in which law has been utilised for rhetorical and ideological purposes, especially with regard to the implementation of legal regimes in the south
    -an awareness of the moral values associated with law and culture and the differing ways in which these are constructed.
Reading List
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Not entered
KeywordsLaw Culture and Rights
Course organiserProf Anne Griffiths
Tel: (0131 6)50 2057
Course secretaryMrs Susan Leask
Tel: (0131 6)50 2344
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