University of Miami School of Law CourseLink Course Description - Online System
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Spring 2022

Course Description
This course explores the relationship between law and society, in the United States as well as in other parts of the world, especially Latin America. Although the main disciplinary approach of the course is sociological, it includes multiple disciplinary approaches from different social sciences to understand this relationship. The course will cover optimistic perspectives that depict law as a tool for human improvement and others that represent it as a mechanism of hegemony and oppression. Therefore, this course is comparative in scope and both interdisciplinary and critical in its approach.

It provides students with an overview of different theories seeking to explain the general structure of the legal system, its efficacy, as well as compliance with and resistance to the law. When, why and under what conditions do people obey the law? How is compliance related to culture, power, and utilitarian analyses? When do States and organizations implement the laws in the books?

Finally, this course also analyzes the intentional and unintended consequences of legal institutions and process. How does law serve to maintain power and when does it help to promote social change? How does the law affect different social groups?

By the end of the semester students should expect to have a general knowledge of the main theories and problems of law and social science, understand how different social sciences approach such questions and identify some of their strengths and weaknesses.

The course will be conducted as a seminar. Every class, the instructor will provide a series of questions to guide the assigned readings. Students, in turn, are asked to submit 2-3 pg. reaction paper which will provide short syntheses of the readings, address the questions provided by the instructor, and present other relevant questions suggested by the readings. During the first hour of class, a student will present a part of readings for 10-15 minutes, and then we will open the discussion. Every student in the class must present the readings at least once. The final grade will be based on the weekly reaction papers, the student presentation(s) and general class participation.

Course Schedule
Dates Day Time Room
01-18-2022 - 04-25-2022   TR  11:00 AM-12:15 PM F302

Course Frequency
This course is usually offered once every academic year

Course Information

Credits: 3
Pass/Fail Option: Yes
Grading: Graded
Method of Evaluation:
Graduation Requirements Fulfilled By Course:
Writing Requirement
Special Attributes:
Co-Listed Course
New Course
Course Delivery:
Special Restrictions:
Law Track(s): None
Bar Subject(s): None
Concentration(s): None
Course Book(s): TBD/None      
First Class Assignment(s): TBD/None