Seminar in Law & Society

L710 is taught by J. Bell

This seminar concentrates on law and society scholarship that examines several actors in criminal justice system. After a brief introduction to the aims of law and society research and social bases for particular notions of criminality and law breaking, we will focus on socio-legal studies in four areas: the police, prosecutors, defense attorneys, and juries. Some issues we will consider include the ways in which law works "on the ground," or the disparity between what the law says and what happens in reality; the role of race, class, and gender in the decisions made by those whose job it is to enforce the criminal law; the role the criminal justice system is intended to play in society; and finally whether the criminal justice system lives up to the goal of balancing the interests of justice, order, and liberty.