Link to What's New This Week Law and Society: CRMJ/SOCA 359, Fall 2013, UWP

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Law and Society
Syllabus for CRMJ/SOCA 359. Fall 2013

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California State University, Dominguez Hills
University of Wisconsin, Parkside
Soka University Japan - Transcend Art and Peace
Created: July 27, 2003
Latest update: December 5, 2013

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Index of Topics on Site Syllabus for Law and Society

Susan Takata
Office: 370 MOLN
Office Hours: MWF 8:45-9:45am & by appointment
Phone: (262) 595-2116
FAX: (262) 595-2471
Class meets MWF 11-11:53 a.m.

Brief Description:

CRMJ/SOCA 359 this semester will focus on selected legal rules, principles, social institutions and social proceses treated from a variety of sociological perspectives. This course will examine the interrelationship between law and society -- legal reasoning, morality and law as well as substantive issues relating to the legal process.


  • Bellow & Minow. Law Stories.
  • Bonsignore. Before the Law. 8th. ed.
  • Curran & Takata. The Sociology of Law Handbook . (on the Dear Habermas website).
  • Dear Habermas website
  • (optional) Habermas, Jurgen. (1996) Between Facts and Norms.
  • (optional) Minow, Martha. (1990) Making All the Difference.


You must have:
  • a three-ring binder
  • an e-mail address
  • Internet access (access on campus in microcomputing labs)

Course Objectives

  • Answerability Objective: To master the concept of the aesthetic process of answerability and its role in creating an atmosphere of morality and ethics in our institutions and world systems, particularly the educational system. Outcomes: You will participate in class discussions respecting the answerability of every member of that community, and the aesthetic process of collaborative creation. You are expected to demonstrate active and involved learning. Written expression is as important as dialog participation and other means of expression (such as art or photography).

  • Technological Objective: To master the simple use of any computer that happens to be available. Our assignments and readings are on the Internet. Please be sure you know how to access them. Outcomes: You will be expected to access class materials on the Dear Habermas website.

  • Theoretical Objective: To come away from this course with a deep understanding of the role that theory plays in our lives, particularly as it relates to law and society. To use a vocabulary which permit discussion of theory: facts, norms, discretion, difference, the Other, structural violence, privileging subjectivity, unstated assumptions, relativism, tolerance of ambiguity, inequality, diversity and so forth. Outcomes: Measured by the inclusion of references in written and oral contributions to discourse. During class discussions, you will consider the framing of the facts you cite, the illocutionary discourse in which you must engage to hear one another in good faith, and the importance of such a forum to in depth consideration of issues relating to "law and society".

  • Visual Objective: To review and evaluate materials on law and society by creating a visual presentation of your learning in this course. Outcomes: You will present at least two visual projects to the class (one at midterm and the other at the end of the semester). Visual projects should reflect your competence and creativity in this course.

  • Praxis Objective: To recognize differences between theory, factual knowledge, and the application and synthesis of that knowledge in praxis. Outcomes: You will apply theoretical discussions to examples within their own institutions and lifeworlds, as they relate to law and society. Focus on conceptually linking criminological as well as sociological theories to current events and personal narratives shared in class discussions.

Grades and Grading

Grades can be important feedback when they are collaborative and used as feedback to guide further learning. They are harmful when they become a reified end in their own right. Because I am required by the institution to give grades, there must be a means of your letting me know what you have learned. I expect each of you to communicate with me, so that I come to know you and your learning. Meaningful learning comes when we stretch the corners of each other's mind by looking at these concepts from multiple perspectives that come from our myriad unique experiences.

The six Cs - communication, courtesy, cooperation, consistency, competency, and creativity continue to represent our standards for evaluation. (refer to Evidence of Learning ). Your coursework must show scholarly discipline in conceptually linking your learning to theory, policy, practice through the course readings and discussions.

Ideally, four progress checks throughout the semester are recommended (meeting with the professor every four weeks). A minimum of two progress checks with the professor is required (at midterm and at the end of the semester).

Measures of Learning

  • First Meeting...................10%
  • Midterm Visual Project ...20%
  • Second Meeting..............20%
  • Final Visual Project.........50%

    Grade Scale

    95-100 = A
    90-94 = A-
    88-89 = B+
    85-87 = B
    80-84 = B-
    78-79 = C+
    75-77 = C
    70-74 = C-
    68-69 = D+
    65-67 = D
    60-64 = D-
    59 and below = F

  • Statement on Plagiarism -- DON'T DO IT!! Give credit to those whose ideas and words you use. Cooperation and sharing in this class will earn you a better grade. Adversarialism is not a part of my teaching. Learning flowers in an environment that permits mutuality to flourish.

    Students with Disabilities - Students with disabilities are encouraged meet with me as soon as possible to discuss accommodations. Accommodations should be authorized through the Disability Services Office in WYLL D175, (contact Dr. Renee Sartin-Kirby, Coordinator at 595-2610).

    Deadlines/Due Dates/Meeting Times - All due dates, meeting times, and deadlines are firm. Late assignments will not be accepted. A "no show" will result in an "F" for that particular task.

    Concealed Weapon Carry -- As provided in the 2011 Wisconsin Act 35 - Concealed Carry Law, you are notified that firearms are not permitted in the classroom or during class related activities. Anyone found in violation will be subject to immediate removal in addition to academic and/or legal sanctions.

    Communication - It is your responsibility to communicate an emergency and other situations in a timely manner to the professor. Communicating your whereabouts is important. Don't be a field mouse.

    Groupwork: You may work in groups on any assignment. Cooperative learning groups are strongly encouraged. You can work with more than one group, and with different groups. All names of active group members should be recordedl. (Refer to Cooperative Learning on the Dear Habermas website ).



    WeekTopic and Class PreparationTextual Readings
    Week 1
    IntroductionB, preface, intro, & foreword
    Week 2
    Law and Sociology
    B, foreword
    Week 3
    Legal ReasoningB, ch. 1.
    Week 4
    Law and Discretion B, ch. 2
    Week 5
    Theoretical Perspectives: Structural Functionalism
    Law & Values
    B, ch. 3
    Week 6
    Theoretical Perspectives: Marxism
    Law, Status, Wealth and Power
    B, ch. 5
    Week 7
    Law & Society @ Midterm
    **Visual Projects due beginning of class, Mon, 10/14
    **Friday, 10/18 - Last Day to Drop Course
    B, 1-5
    Week 8
    Law and Popular Will
    Theoretical Perspectives: Interactionism & Feminism

    B. ch.6 & 7
    Week 9
    Habermas' Between Facts and Norms
    C&T, ch. 1 & 2 (online)
    B&M, intro, Alfieri, Lapidus & Lynd
    Week 10
    Law Enforcement B, ch. 8, 9, & 10
    B&M, Minow
    Week 11
    Lawyers B, ch.11, 12, & 13
    B&M, Ogletree & Smith
    Week 12
    The JuryB, ch. 14, 15 &16
    B&M, Weaver
    Week 13
    Conflict Resolution
    ** Friday, November 29th- Thanksgiving Break (no class)
    B, ch. 18 ,19
    B&M, White & afterword
    Week 14
    Cyberspace and the Future of Law
    Law and Society in "Theory, Policy, Practice"
    ** Monday, December 2nd - Final Visual Project due
    B, ch. 21, 22, 23 & 24
    Week 15
    Summary & Conclusion
    ** Friday, December 9th - Last Day of Class
    all texts

    Site Copyright: Jeanne Curran and Susan R. Takata and Individual Authors, August 2003.
    "Fair use" encouraged.