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1.11 Law, Society and Politics in Comparative Perspective - FULLY BOOKED

Instructor: Ellie Frazier
Language of instruction:
Course type:
Subject course
Contact hours:
48 (6 per day)
Course days
: see class schedule
ECTS credits
: 5
Course fee:
€ 1,300
🌍 Critical global issues addressed in this course: Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions (SDG 16)

Course Description

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. Alongside 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, and Germany’s neighbors in Europe. These historical experiences pose challenges for the eras that followed World War II (1945) and the collapse of the Communist state system in Central and Eastern Europe after 1989, as these societies and their states change in the face of altered conditions. What challenges do these historical legacies pose in states that are moving away from totalitarian and socialist systems towards a Western model that is oriented towards democracy, the rule of law, and a market economy? What are the roles of ‘transitional justice’ and ‘memory laws’? How have these societies changed, and how do these changes affect the development and operation of law? What challenges are posed by freedom of speech and freedom of association? How has political life changed since 1945? Since 1989? How does Germany fit within Europe?

Overall, the course aims to develop skills at using theory and history to inform debates on contemporary challenges, such as multiculturalism, punishment, squatting, (illegal) downloading/streaming/file-sharing, protest, and economic development. Students not only gain substantive expertise in various socio- and politico-legal fields, but also develop communicative competence through participatory exercises, and intercultural competence through discussion with other students.

Download Syllabus (printable PDF incl. day-to-day schedule)