91375 - LEGAL PHILOSOPHY AND SOCIOLOGY OF LAW

Course Unit Page

SDGs

This teaching activity contributes to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals of the UN 2030 Agenda.

Gender equality Peace, justice and strong institutions

Academic Year 2019/2020

Learning outcomes

At the end of the course unit, students: - know the history of legal philosophy thanks to the development, during the course unit, of a thematic analysis centered on fundamental theoretical problems and argumentative patterns designed to resolve those issues also under a perspective approach; - know the classical and contemporary theoretical-sociological debate on the function of law, the relationship between social and legal norms, the social nature of the concepts of status and role; - are capable to deal with problems of theoretical and legal nature, in a logical manner and by relying on a solid argumentation, and to discuss those problems in an interactive way by efficiently communicating the advantages of multiple their multiple structures and issues.

Course contents

PHILOSOPHY OF LAW
(5-years Master Degrees in Law)

The course comprises two modules.

In the first module (Conceptions of Law), the three main conceptions of legal theory – natural law theory, legal positivism, and legal realism – will be presented and discussed in their theoretical implications; and some contemporary trends (law and economics, critical legal studies, and legal feminism) will be introduced and discussed in their lights.

In the second module (Hart: The Concept of Law), H. L. A. Hart’s masterpiece “The Concept of Law” and its Postscript will be discussed in in details, also in the light of some contemporary debates in legal theory that derived from it: particularly the Hart-Dworkin debate, but also the debate on inclusive and exclusive legal positivism (Raz on authority).

 

LEGAL PHILOSOPHY AND SOCIOLOGY OF LAW
(2-years master Degree in LEGS - Legal Studies)

The course comprises three modules.

In the first module (Philosophy and Conceptions of Law), which corresponds directly and indeed is the same as the first Module of "Philosophy of Law" above, we will look at the three main conceptions developed in the philosophy of law—namely, natural law theory, legal positivism, and legal realism—discussing their theoretical implications; and some contemporary trends (law and economics, critical legal studies, and legal feminism) will be introduced and discussed in their lights.

In the second and third modules (Sociology of Law 1 and 2), we will survey the main classic and contemporary approaches to the sociology of law. In Module Sociology of Law 1 the focus will be on the Durkheimian and Weberian approaches, whereas in Module Sociology of Law 2 the Marxist approaches, as well as on the conflict and structural-functionalist ones, will be treated.

 

Readings/Bibliography

PHILOSOPHY OF LAW
(5-years Master Degrees in Law)

1) First module (Conceptions of Law):
Martin P. Golding and William A. Edmundson (eds.), The Blackwell Guide to the Philosophy of Law and Legal Theory, Oxford, Blackwell, 2005 (chaps. 1–6).

2) Second module (Hart: The Concept of Law):
H. L. A. Hart, The Concept of Law, 2nd ed., with a postscript edited by Penelope A. Bulloch and Joseph Raz, Oxford, Clarendon Press, 1994 (chaps. 1–7 and the Postscript).

 

LEGAL PHILOSOPHY AND SOCIOLOGY OF LAW
(Laurea magistrale biennale LEGS - Legal Studies)

1) First module (Philosophy and Conceptions of Law):
Martin P. Golding and William A. Edmundson (eds.), The Blackwell Guide to the Philosophy of Law and Legal Theory, Oxford, Blackwell, 2005 (chapters 1–6).

2) Second and third module (Sociology of Law 1 and 2):
Javier Treviño, The Sociology of Law. Classical and Contemporary Perspectives, New York, Routledge, 2008, chaps. 1, 4-8.

 

Erasmus Students

Since the course is taught in English, there is no syllabus specifically tailored to Erasmus students interested in enrolling. Erasmus students will thus study on the same readings as non-Erasmus students.

Nonattending Students

No class attendance will be taken during the course. Attendance is nonetheless recommended, as it will help students to more effectively grapple with the complexity of the subject matter and the issues addressed. Nonattending students are still required to download the relevant teching material from the course's website, as well as any slides the instructors may use in class. Nonattending students are also encouraged to contact their instructors should they have any problem understanding the content covered in these readings.

Teaching methods

Both the "Philosophy of Law" course and the "Legal Philosophy and Sociology of Law" course are taught by frontal lecture and by commentary on the readings. An effort will be made to engage students in discussion.  

Considering that the course is taught in English and that class participation is encouraged, students who intend to attend should make sure they have an adequate English language proficiency: this means at least an A2 or equivalent level.

Both courses are first-semester courses. Class locations and the class schedule will be made available at www.giuri.unibo.it.

Assessment methods

Both in the case of "Philosophy of Law" and in that of "Legal Philosophy and Sociology of Law", student evaluations are based on a final oral exam, which students can register for on the UNIBO Almaesami platform.

The exam will be aimed at evaluating not only the students’ knowledge of the content covered by the course but also their ability to critically think through the theoretical issues discussed in class. This means that, in addition to knowing what is in the readings, students are expected to demonstrate that they understand the main concepts and conceptions and the problems they raise.

- In the case of "Philosophy of Law", the exam will include at least three questions: one about the general legal-philosophical conceptions (natural law theory, legal positivism, and legal realism), one about Hart and "The Concept of Law", and one about the contemporary conceptions (Critical legal studies, law and economics, and legal feminism).

- In the case of "Legal Philosophy and Sociology of Law", the final exam will be divided into two parts—one on the philosophy of law issues treated in Module 1, the other on the sociology of law treated in Modules 2 and 3—each consisting of two or three questions from the relative modules.

The final grade is calculated by averaging the grades assigned in the two different parts. The grading system will be used to assess three levels of achievement. A mark of exceptional achievement will be awarded to students who can demonstrate an overall organic understanding of the themes and issues covered in class, coupled with an ability to critically reason through them, and to do so with a good command of the language specific to the two disciplines. A mark of acceptable achievement will be assigned to students who demonstrate a capacity for synthesis and analysis but are not fully articulate in doing so or are not accurate in their use of the language. Finally, students whose knowledge is gappy (they may unfamiliar with some of the material and readings in the syllabus or be unable to find their bearings within this material) or whose language skills and vocabulary are inadequate will receive a mark of inadequate achievement.

Students need not pass any introductory courses in order to take the exam.

Teaching tools

There is a range of study aids available to students. These include lecture summaries and slides providing snapshots of the main questions discussed in class, further readings for deep dives into specific topics, mailing lists for sending out notices and information about the course. But perhaps most important is class participation, through which students can get a good sense of their own understanding and of the progress they are making.

All course information and class supplements will be made available at the course's website.

Students of "Philosophy of Law", as well as students of "Legal Philosophy and Sociology of Law" who have a problem about Module 1 of that course (Philosophy and Conceptions of Law) may contact Corrado Roversi at corrado.roversi@unibo.it for any queries.

Students of "Legal Philosophy and Sociology of Law" who have a problem about Modules 2 and 3 of that course (Sociology of Law) may contact Stefania Pellegrini (stefania.pellegrini@unibo.it) or Annalisa Verza (annalisa.verza@unibo.it).

Office hours

See the website of Corrado Roversi

See the website of Stefania Pellegrini

See the website of Annalisa Verza