1.07 Law, Society and Politics in Comparative Perspective
Language of instruction: English
Course type: Subject course
Contact hours: 48 (6 per day)
Course days: see class schedule
ECTS credits: 5
Course fee: € 1,100
This course explores theoretical and historical perspectives on the intersection of law, society and politics, and aims to foster discussion of contemporary issues among students from different cultures and disciplines. After an introduction to comparative law and legal culture, we read some classical social theorists (Durkheim, Weber and Marx), and consider their relevance to contemporary debates about morality, (dis)obedience, conflict, and property. Next, we investigate the role and operation of law in totalitarian settings such as Nazi and Communist Germany. Finally, we consider the difficulties such legacies pose for democracy, the rule of law, and the economy in post-totalitarian and authoritarian societies, including the need for ‘transitional justice’, the relationship between law and the market, and the challenges posed by freedom of speech and freedom of association.
Overall, the course aims to develop skills at using theory and history to inform debates on contemporary challenges, such as multiculturalism, (illegal) downloading/streaming/file-sharing, squatting, and economic development. In addition to gaining substantive expertise in various socio- and politico-legal fields, students develop communicative competence through participatory exercises, and intercultural competence through discussion with other students.