Full Programme

Seminars take place on Mondays, 1.30 – 3.30 pm, unless otherwise stated in Room 341 on the third floor of the Manor Road Building

The course is intended to develop an appreciation of law as a social phenomenon, to introduce influential theoretical perspectives, and to consider the variety of methods by which socio-legal research questions might be addressed. The course does not seek to provide a comprehensive coverage of the whole field of social-legal inquiry, but focuses instead on selected issues as an introduction to and way of illustrating the approaches taken by a variety of scholars. Each of the seminars is a self-contained, stand-alone session.

Attendance is not optional, but is part of the methodological training required of all CSLS students. However, to ensure a sufficient link between the course and your project, you may substitute relevant sessions provided elsewhere at the University for up to two sessions in Michaelmas Term and up to three sessions in Hilary Term. This should be discussed and agreed with your supervisor, and the Centre’s Director of Graduate Studies should be informed.


Sessions in Michaelmas Term are intended to provide an introduction to a selection of key approaches and debates in contemporary socio-legal studies. The discussions will explore the nature of law and the various forms it takes in a variety of social settings and relationships.  Understanding the nature of different theoretical and disciplinary approaches to the study of law will equip you with the perspective necessary to pose questions that are relevant to the field, and to appreciate the range of different ways in which you might explore them. The overarching objective of the term is to empower you to ground your project in the socio-legal field, while enabling you to exercise as much choice as possible about how you frame your project intellectually.


Meaning of law within competing models of social orderWeek 1Dr M Kurkchiyan
Is law a regulatory tool or a knowledge regime?Week 2Dr B Lange
Socio-legal approaches to media governanceWeek 3Dr N Stremlau
Key discussions in law and economicsWeek 4Dr C Decker
How does law change?Week 5Dr P Mahy
Dispute resolution: theory and practiceWeek 6Prof C Hodges
Gender, Class, Race, Sexuality and PowerWeek 7Prof R Hunter
Law beyond government: anthropological perspectives on lawWeek 8Prof F Pirie


In these seminars you will discuss the practical techniques available to carry out socio-legal research and the ways in which they relate to whatever theoretical approach you might take. You will consider which questions you can ask and answer through which methods. At the session in Week 7, CSLS students who have reached an advanced stage of their project or who have already completed their theses will share some of their experiences with you. They will talk informally about the challenges that they faced and the bridges they had to cross. In the concluding sessions held in the Trinity Term you will be invited to make an overall presentation of your chosen project.


Introduction to Empirical Socio-Legal Research MethodsWeek 1Dr M Kurkchiyan
Qualitative Research MethodsWeek 2Prof D McBarnet
Introduction to quantitative methodsWeek 3Dr S Macleod
Ethnographic MethodsWeek 4Prof F Pirie
Analysing qualitative dataWeek 5Dr B Lange
Comparative Methods and AnalysisWeek 6Dr A Kubal
Exploring the recent past in socio-legal research: The use of unpublished documents*Wednesday of Week 6*Professor W Twining and C Cowling
Experiences of doing graduate researchWeek 7Dr J Blackbourn
Research EthicsWeek 8Dr N Creutzfeldt
Research Design Workshop*Wednesday of Week 8*Dr B Lange


In one of two sessions available In Weeks 1 and 2, students have the opportunity to make a short presentation of their research projects to their peers and to some of the Centre's Research Fellows. All participate in the subsequent discussions to help every student to develop his/her project to its maximum potential.