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School of Law

LAW6024 Law, Knowledge, Power

This course offers an introduction to the theory and history of legal knowledge, with a particular focus on the relations between 1) the form and materiality of knowledge, and 2) the politics of knowledge. The course asks: Who makes legal knowledge for whom, and in what form and with what materials? What are the different effects (social, epistemic, cultural) of these different forms and materials (these different ‘carriers’ of legal knowing)? The course is divided into two parts, with each seminar focusing on a particular form and materiality of legal knowing. The first part is dedicated to lesser-studied forms and materials that may loosely be called ‘folk legal knowing’ – typically made by the people for the people (e.g., embodied rituals, proverbs, fables, anecdotes, and comics). The second part is dedicated to more recognisable and more studied forms and materials of ‘elite legal knowing’ – typically made by elites for elites (e.g., pleading dialogues, emblems, codes and their glosses, case reports, treatises, and textbooks). Mindful that some forms of legal knowing are modes of folk communication with the elite (e.g., fables and parables), while others are modes of elite communication with the folk (e.g., illustrations in codes of customs), the course also considers the complex relations between folk and elite legal knowing.

Mode of assessment

  • 100% coursework (5,000-word essay)

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