SOCY 540: Sociology of Law

Professor Mathieu Deflem, Ph.D.
University of South Carolina
Department of Sociology
Office: Sloan 217
Email: deflem@mailbox.sc.edu 
This course is taught in Fall 2016


COURSE OBJECTIVES

This course is designed for upper-level undergraduates who major or minor in sociology and is also open to graduate and law-school students. It reviews the most important developments, both theoretical and empirical, in the sociology of law. This is not a course in law, but in the sociology of law. The goal of the class is to understand some of the specific characteristics of the manner in which sociologists study law as well as to explain some of the patterns and dynamics of law in a variety of social settings.

Upon successful completion of this course, students should be able to know and understand the manner in which sociologists study law and empirically analyze relevant dynamics of law and law-related phenomena in a variety of social settings. Successive sections of this course will focus on: classical theoretical contributions to the sociology of law; selected chapters in modern sociology of law; and a useful selection of empirical themes of law and law-related processes and structures to which the sociological theories will be applied. These empirical topics include, but are not necessarily limited to: law and economy; law and politics; law and culture; social structure and law; legality and legitimacy; the legal profession; law and inequality; and globalization and law.

A necessary prerequisite for this course is any 300-level sociology course or consent of the instructor.

The final grade for the course is based on three tests and a (cumulative) final exam. Consult the university calendar and Office of Academic Integrity for further details.

The syllabus is available to all registered students via Blackboard.



CONTENTS 

Introduction: Sociology, Society, and Law

Part I. Theoretical Foundations of the Sociology of Law
1) Law and the Rise of the Social Sciences
2) Max Weber on the Rationalization of Law
3) Emile Durkheim on Law and Social Solidarity
Part II. Development and Variations of the Sociology of Law
4) The Theoretical Move Towards the Sociology of Law
5) From Sociological Jurisprudence to Sociology of Law
6) Sociology of Law and the Antinomies of Modern Thought
Part III. Sociological Dimensions of Law
7) Law and Economy: The Regulation of the Free Market
8) Law and Politics: The Role of Democratic Law
9) Law and Integration: The Legal Profession
10) Law and Culture: The Balance of Values Through Norms
Part IV. Special Problems of Law
11) Social Control: The Enforcement of Law
12) The Globalization of Law



READINGS

Book:

Mathieu Deflem. 2008. Sociology of Law: Visions of a Scholarly Tradition. Cambridge University Press.

Articles: 
  • Kant, Immanuel. 1784. An Answer to the Question, "What is Enlightenment?". 
  • Weber, Max. 1921. “Legal Order and Economic Order.” 
  • Durkheim, Emile. 1893/1900. “Forms of Social Solidarity.” 
  • Chambliss, William J. 1964. “A Sociological Analysis of the Law of Vagrancy.” 
  • Nonet, Philippe. 1976. “For Jurisprudential Sociology.”
  • Black, Donald J. 1972. “The Boundaries of Legal Sociology.”
  • Deflem, Mathieu. 2013. “The Legal Theory of Jürgen Habermas.”
  • Kay, Fiona M. & Elizabeth H. Gorman. 2012. “Partners in Large U.S. Law Firms.”
  • Deflem, Mathieu. 1998. “The Boundaries of Abortion Law.”



NOTE: REQUIREMENTS FOR GRADUATE & LAW-SCHOOL STUDENTS

Graduate and law-school students have to complete all of the readings and assignments that are specified for undergraduates, except the final exam. Additionally, they will be assigned supplementary required readings as well as the following additional assignments: a mid-term paper, and a final paper. Supplementary required readings and further specifications of the assignments will be made available by the course instructor.



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