Undergraduate Module Descriptor

LAW3155: Law, Politics and Power

This module descriptor refers to the 2019/0 academic year.


NQF Level 6
Credits 30 ECTS Value 15
Term(s) and duration

This module ran during term 1 (12 weeks) and term 2 (11 weeks)

Academic staff

Professor Stephen Skinner (Lecturer)





Available via distance learning


How can we understand the nature of law in modern society? How can we grasp what makes law work as an instrument of social control and the tie that binds political communities together? Why do people and their societies use rules and why are such rules obeyed? Do such rules flow naturally from moral concerns? Are they merely manifestations of power? To what extent does law bring justice and is law’s justice always fair? What is meant by the ‘rule of law’ and are its supposed foundations in equality, equity and the restraint of the State always respected? To what extent is law a means to achieve social harmony, and to what extent is it violence and repression masked by a specialised conceptual order? This module is designed to give you the opportunity to explore the nature and role of law in society, to question your assumptions about law and justice, and to develop some critical perspectives on law, both as a fundamental human construction and as specific concrete laws in particular socio-political and historical contexts. Focusing on a critical approach to legal and political theories about law, its nature and its operation, this module is organised around key themes and questions and will give you the opportunity to engage with some of the most exciting arguments about law and its place in our lives.

The module is designed with both law and non-law students in mind. You do not require any particular background in law, politics or related theoretical disciplines and the module will enable you to build on the knowledge you have acquired in your studies so far. As such, the module is suitable for students from a range of backgrounds and will be particularly useful for you if you are interested in developing a theoretical and interdisciplinary approach to your studies. It is delivered in eight three-week cycles, with one lecture and two interactive research-led workshops per cycle – as such, this is a module for self-motivating students who enjoy the challenge of reading and participating in discussions.

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