Sociology | Law and Society
S326 | 16485 | Michelson

Is there too much or not enough litigation in this country?  Do
lawyers improve or impair access to justice?  Are minorities and
whites equal before the law?  Do the careers of lawyers differ by
gender and race?  These are among the questions we will address and
debate in this class.  Perhaps of greatest interest to you B because
so many of you are considering going to law school B is the law
school experience and the question of whether affirmative action
improves or damages opportunities for minorities.  The sociology of
law has been succinctly defined as "everything about law except the
rules."  Taking the spirit of this definition to heart, we will
privilege the "law in action" over the "law on the books."  In our
exploration of the courts and the legal profession, we will pay
close attention to social relationships and social institutions.  As
we examine the disputing process and access to justice (including
alternatives to law), we will pay close attention to power and
inequality.  Finally, when we study legal culture, legal
consciousness, and popular portrayals of law (images of law in TV
and film, for example), we will consider both the way the legal
process is shaped by culture (social norms defining the meaning of
right and wrong, for example) and the way culture is shaped by the
legal process.