Undergraduate Module Descriptor

LAW3155: Law, Politics and Power

This module descriptor refers to the 2020/1 academic year.

Module Content

Syllabus Plan

Whilst the module’s content may vary, it is envisaged that it will cover eight topics organised under some or all of the following thematic headings in the order indicated.

The nature of law : historical manifestations and development; sociological and political foundations; concepts of society, social organisation and the role of rules; law in non-western cultures;

Law, order and justice : theoretical perspectives on law and its relationships with order and justice; theories of natural law and positive law;

Law, liberalism and democracy: theories of liberalism and social contract; theories of democracy; possible conjunctions and distinctions between liberalism and democracy; histories and theories of the rule of law; questions of legality and legitimacy;

- Critical responses to liberal law: Marxist theory of society, politics, power and law; Critical Legal Studies; feminist theory; critical race theory;

- Political reactions against liberal democracy and the reorientation of its law: populism, authoritarianism and Fascism, histories and theories; populist and authoritarian law; law under Fascism and ‘Fascist law’;

- Law, violence and evil: law’s force and law’s violence; law and modernity, law and the Holocaust; theoretical perspectives on neutral law, ‘good’ law and ‘evil’ law;

- Law and rights: histories and theories of human rights; critiques of rights;

- Law and humanities: understanding humanity and human complexity, or ‘being human’; critiques of ‘orthodox’ law and the theoretical turn to the humanities; forms of ‘law and literature’; narrative understanding.

Learning and Teaching

This table provides an overview of how your hours of study for this module are allocated:

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad

...and this table provides a more detailed breakdown of the hours allocated to various study activities:

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Scheduled Learning & Teaching activities21 x 1 hour lecture in first week of module to outline module format, ILOs and assessment; 1 x 1 hour lecture in last week of module to conclude and give exam guidance
Scheduled Learning and Teaching Activity161 x 2 hour introductory lecture for each of 8 topic cycles
Scheduled Learning and Teaching Activity242 x 1.5 hour workshop for each of 8 topic cycles(first tutor led; second student- led with tutor guidance)
Guided independent study648 hours reading before and/or after each lecture
Guided Independent study964 hours reading before and after each workshop
Guided Independent Study98Reading, revision and preparation for the assessment

Online Resources

This module has online resources available via ELE (the Exeter Learning Environment).

Critical Legal Thinking: http://criticallegalthinking.com

Other Learning Resources

Lecture/ topic outlines, reading lists, further URL links and other material will be provided on ELE.