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Law, Justice, and Democracy

GOVT 350
Spring 2023
Section: 01  
Course Cluster and Certificates: Social, Cultural, and Critical Theory Certificate

In this course, we will explore law from a political-sociological perspective, in relation to the historical, political, and cultural contexts within which it exists. In the first part of the course, we will address the question "what is law?" by exploring a variety of theoretical approaches (Marxian, Weberian, and Durkheimian perspectives, legal formalism, legal realism, and critical legal studies). We will then move on to discussing the relationship between law and justice. In the third part of the course, we will talk about the politics of crime and punishment, exploring a number of key issues, including the birth of modern prison, rising incarceration rates in the U.S., the emergence of drug courts, and the politics of death penalty. In the fourth section, we will discuss the role courts play in constructing political and social reality. What constitutes a religion? What is gender? What is commerce? What is free speech? These questions find myriad answers in different bodies of thought, are understood and acted upon in a variety of ways by different social groups, and gain different levels of political salience in different societies and at different times. As matters concerning the organization of public life, they are also, and inevitably, framed as "legal problems" and make their way to courts. We will examine how courts construct social phenomena through the lens of several historical cases. In the final section of the course, we will discuss law's place in the American system of government by exploring the evolving relationship between courts, the presidency, and Congress.
Credit: 1 Gen Ed Area Dept: SBS GOVT
Course Format: Lecture / DiscussionGrading Mode: Graded
Level: UGRD Prerequisites: None
Fulfills a Major Requirement for: (CSCT)(GOVT)(GOVT-American)(GOVT-Theory)
Past Enrollment Probability: 50% - 74%

Last Updated on JUN-21-2024
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