21A.219 | Spring 2003 | Undergraduate

Law and Society



I. Introduction
What is Law? What Does Law Do? What Does Law Not Do?
Natural Law, Legal Positivism, and Legal Realism

“Justice?–You get justice in the next world, in this world you have the law.”
   –William Gaddis, A Frolic of His Own (1994: 13)

Lec #1  

Abel, Richard L., ed. “What Do We Talk About When We Talk About Law.” In The Law and Society Reader.

Burnett, G. Graham. A Trial by Jury. Pp. 3-76.

Lec #2, 3 Jurisprudential Paradigms (PDF)

Sutton, John. Law/Society. Pp. 135-160.

Holmes, Oliver Wendell. “The Path of the Law.”

Viewing #1   Real Justice, District Court. (PDF)  

II. Law as a Social Process: The Organization of the Criminal Justice System

“To what degree was the law a thing apart from people - an abstract system laid over the messy reality of individuals and their specific situations - and to what degree did the law emerge from the texture and character of people and the details of their cases?”
--D. Graham Burnett, A Trial By Jury (2001: 137)

Lec #4, 5 Criminal Justice System (Lec #4) (PDF)

Currie, Elliott. “The Control of Witchcraft in Renaissance Europe.”

Black, Donald. “Social Organization of Arrest.”

Emerson, Robert. “Holistic Effects in Social Control Decision-Making.” In The Law and Society Reader.

Blankenburg, Erhard. “The Selectivity of Legal Sanctions: An Empirical Investigation of Shoplifting.” In The Law and Society Reader.

Feeley, Malcolm. The Process is the Punishment. (Excerpts)

Alschuler, Albert W. “Plea Bargaining and It’s History.” In The Law and Society Reader.

Radelet, Michael, and Glenn L. Pierce. “Race and Prosecutorial Discretion in Homicide Cases.” In The Law and Society Reader.

Heumann, Milton, and Colin Loftin. “Mandatory Sentencing and the Abolition of Plea Bargaining: The Michigan Felony Firearm Statute.” In The Law and Society Reader.

Daly, Kathleen. “Structure and Practice of Familial-Based Justice in a Criminal Court.” In The Law and Society Reader.

Viewing #2   Real Justice, Superior Court. (PDF)  
III. Law as a Social Process: The Civil Side
Lec #6, 7, 8

Civil Justice System (Lec #6) (PDF)

Civil Justice System (Continued) (Lec #7) (PDF)

Harr, Jonathan. A Civil Action.

Engel, David. “The Over Bird’s Song: Insiders, Outsiders, and Personal Injuries in an American Community.” In The Law and Society Reader.

Merry, Sally. “Going to Court: Strategies of Dispute Management in an Urban Neighborhood.” In The Law and Society Reader.

Felstiner, Abel, and Austin Sarat. “The Emergence and Transformation of Disputes: Naming, Blaming and Claiming.”

Galanter, Marc. “Why the ‘Haves’’ Come Out Ahead.” In The Law and Society Reader.

Tanase, Takao. “The Management of Disputes: Automobile Accident Compensation in Japan.” In The Law and Society Reader.

IV. Players in the System: Judges, Lawyers, Litigants
Lec #9, 10, 11, 12

Players in the System: Judges (Lec #9, 10) (PDF)

Legal Profession (Lec #11, 12) (PDF)

Carter, Lief, and Thomas Burke. Reason in Law. Pp. 1-126, 158-162.

Paul, Jeremy. “Changing the Subject: Cognitive Theory and the Teaching of Law.”

Sutton, John. Law/Society. Pp. 221-278.

Sarat, Austin, and William Felstiner. “Law and Social Relations: Vocabularies of Motive in Lawyer/Client Interaction.” In The Law and Society Reader.

Conley, John, and William O’Barr. “Lay Expectations of the Civil Justice System.” In The Law and Society Reader.

First Paper Due (3 days before Lec #9)

Mid-Term Exam (Tentative Date - 3 days before Lec #11)

V. Alternatives to Law
Lec #13, 14 Alternatives to Law: Varieties of Dispute Processing (Lec #13, 14) (PDF)

Burke, Thomas. Lawyers, Lawsuits and Legal Rights: The Battle over Litigation in American Society. (Excerpts)

Hensler, Deborah. “Suppose It’s Not True.”

Silbey, Susan. “The Emperor’s New Clothes: Mediation Mythology and Markets.”

Cobb, Sara. “The Domestication of Violence in Mediation.”

Second Paper Due (Lec #13)
VI. Law and Social Change: The Consequences of Logic and Organization
Lec #15, 16 Evolutionary Theories of Social Change: Maine and Durkheim (Lec #15, 16) (PDF)

Sutton, John. Law/Society. Pp. 23-60.

Telpner, Brian. “Constructing Safe Communities: Megan’s Law and the Purposes of Punishment.”

Hawthorne, Nathaniel. The Scarlet Letter. Pp. 75-88. (Excerpts)

Berman, Paul. “An Observation and a Strange but True ‘Tale’: What might the Historical Trials of Animals tell us about the Transformative Potential of Law?”

Lec #17, 18 Law, Class Conflict and the Economy: Marx (Lec #17, 18) (PDF)

Sutton, John. Law/Society. Pp. 61-98.

Chambliss, William. “A Sociological Analysis of the Law of Vagrancy.”

Hay, Douglas. “Property, Authority, and the Criminal Law.”

Thompson, E. P. “The Rule of Law.”

Lec #19, 20, 21

Law and the State: Weber (Lec #19, 20) (PDF)

Law and Social Change (Continued) (Lec #21) (PDF)

Sutton, John. Law/Society. Pp. 99-132.

Hall, Jerome. Theft, Law and Society. (Excerpts)

Sutton, John. Law/Society. Pp. 161-220.

Ekland-Olson, Sheldon, and Steve J. Martin. “Organizational Compliance with Court-Ordered Reform.” In The Law and Society Reader.

Gilboy, Janet. “Penetrability of Administrative Systems: Political ‘Casework’ and Immigration Inspections.” In The Law and Society Reader.

Silbey, Susan. “The Consequences of Responsive Regulation.”

Third Paper Due (Lec #19)

VII. The Rule of Law, Legal Culture, and Everyday Life

“To the pig keepers … the law was a domain of conflict in whose construction they participated.”
--Hendrik Hartog, “Pigs and Posivitism” (1985)

Lec #22, 23, 24, 25 Law and Everyday Life, The Common Place of Law (Lec #23, 24, 25) (PDF)

Ewick, Patricia, and Susan S. Silbey. The Common Place of Law: Stories from Everyday Life.

Carter, and Burke. Reason in Law. Pp. 127-157.

Sherwin, Richard. When Law Goes Pop:The Vanishing Line Between Law and Popular Culture. (Excerpts)

Final Paper Due (Lec #25)

Course Info

As Taught In
Spring 2003
Learning Resource Types
Lecture Notes
Written Assignments