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SOC449 Sociology of Law

Lead Faculty: Dr. Margaret J. Greer

Course Description

Explores the social, political, and economic foundations of law, the study of punishment and criminality, formal systems of social control and their legitimacy in law, and the relationship of political agendas to victimization, human rights, and legalized oppression. Emphasis will be on explanations of social order, legal definitions of appropriate and inappropriate behaviors, the history of law, the political uses and structure of the law, criminal justice system components, and critical sociopolitical analyses of law. The impact of the legal system on society and the individual will also be explored. Assignments and readings are designed to connect historical understandings with present day knowledge about law.

Learning Outcomes

  • Explain what constitutes a sociological perspective on law, legal institutions, and law-related structures and processes.
  • Describe the relationships between values, norms, and laws, and the relative impact of each on social control and social change.
  • Articulate theoretical explanations of how legal systems develop and change.
  • Analyze the ways in which the legal system shapes social instituions and public behavior.
  • Evaluate the rule of law for the maintainance of order in society.
  • Demonstrate undergraduate-level written communication skills.
  • Demonstrate undergraduate-level oral communication and presentation skills.
  • Apply analytical and critical thinking skills.