Link to jeanne's Birdie Calendar. : SOCA 359 - Sociology of Law, Spring 2002, UWP

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Sociology of Law
SOCA 359 - Spring 2002

University of Wisconsin, Parkside
Latest update: January 10, 2002


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 10-10:50 a.m.


SOCA 359 will focus on selected legal rules, principles, and institutions treated from a sociological perspective. This course will examine the major theoretical perspectives on 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. 7th ed.
  • Curran and Takata. Sociology of Law Handbook. (On DH site)
  • a small pocket dictionary
  • Dear Habermas Website [refer to handout]
  • Habermas. Between Facts and Norms. (optional)
  • Minow. Making all the Difference. (optional)


You must have:
  • A bound notebook/journal
  • An e-mail address (available through school)
  • Internet access (access PCs in microcomputing labs on campus)

Learning Objectives for the Course

The student will learn:

A. to know the difference between intrinsic and extrinsic motivation. Measured by requirement to choose from both and explain choice on grade percentage form.

B. to work cooperatively with others, by juxtaposing strengths. Measured by self report and written and oral contributions to discourse.

C. to recognize differences between theory, factual knowledge, and the application and synthesis of that knowledge in praxis. Become familiar with the interrelationship between theory, policy, and practice relating to sociology of law. Measured by the student's ability to choose between the types of knowledge and to balance them, as evidenced by grade percentage form.

D. to use a vocabulary which permit discussion of theory: difference, the Other, structural violence, privileging subjectivity, unstated assumptions, transformative discourse, relativism, tolerance of ambiguity, and so forth. Measured by self-tests and incusion of references in written and oral contributions to discourse.

E. to recognize the principle contributions to social theory of Habermas, Minow, Freire, bell hooks, and others. Measured by self-tests and inclusion of references in written and oral contributions to discourse.

F. to categorize theoretical approaches by reference: a) to where the problem and the solution are assumed to be, and b) to the balance between adversarialism and mutuality. Measured by exam questions and inclusion in written and oral contributions to discourse.

G. to evaluate materials on law and society. Measured by self-tests and inclusion of citations in written and oral contributions to discourse.

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, when they become commodified.

The overall grading criteria is based on the 5Cs - communication, consistency, competency, creativity, and cooperation, (refer to Dear Habermas site, Evidence of Learning . Your coursework must show scholarly discipline in conceptually linking your learning to theory, policy, practice, and to course readings and discussions.

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 our teaching. We believe that learning flowers in an environment that permits mutuality to flourish.

Measures of Learning

We insist that you write, because writing is still important to communication, and affords a richness of experience we think higher education should afford you. I insist that you e-mail your contributions, and keep them relatively short (25 words or less) so that I can give them the attention that matters. Refer to grade form for more details.

  • Self-Report Measures (up to 20% may be selected)
    • Pass/Prepareds or Self-Tests (up to 10%)
    • Journal (up to 20%)
    • Dictionary Records (up to 10%)

  • Creative Measures (up to 80% may be selected)
    • Latent Learning (up to 10%)
    • Recognition and Recall (up to 20%)
    • Application (up to 40%)
    • Analysis and Evaluation (up to 80%)
    • Synthesis (up to 80%)

  • Traditional Measures (up to 60%may be selected)
    • Essay Exam 1 (up to 30%)
    • Essay Exam 2 (up to 30%)
  • Important Notes

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

    Deadlines/Due Dates - All due dates and deadlines are firm. Late assignments and exercises will not be accepted. A "no show" will result in an "F" for that particular task. The absolute final deadline for all course work is Friday, May 3rd, 10 a.m. central time.

    Communicating - 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 or all exercises or assignments. 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 recorded as indicated on the exercise material. (Refer to Cooperative Learning on the Dear Habermas site ).



    WeekTopicReadings due
    1IntroductionB, preface, intro & foreword
    2Law and Sociology
    **Wed,1/30 Computer Workshop in library
    B, foreword
    3Legal ReasoningB, ch. 1
    4Law and DiscretionB, ch. 2
    5Theoretical Perspectives B, ch. 3
    6Theoretical PerspectivesB, ch. 4 & 5
    7Theoretical PerspectivesB, ch. 6 & 7
    8Habermas' Between Facts and Norms
    **Fri 3/15 - Last to Drop Course
    C&T, ch. 1 & 2
    9Spring Break
    ** M 3/18, W 3/22, F 3/24 - No Class
    no readings
    10Habermas' Between Facts and NormsB&M, intro
    11Law in Action: Law EnforcementB, ch. 8, 9, 10
    B&M, Alfieri
    12Law in Action: LawyersB, ch. 11, 12, 13
    B&M, Lapidus & Lynd
    13Law in Action: The JuryB, ch. 16 &17
    B&M, Minow & Ogletree
    14Conflict ResolutionB, ch. 19 & 20
    B&M, Smith & Weaver
    15The Future of Law
    **Fri, May 3rd at 10 a.m. central time - The Absolute Final Deadline
    B,ch. 21 & 22
    B&M, White & afterword
    15Sociology of Law in Theory, Policy, Practice
    **Fri, May 10th, The Last Day of Class