Law, Science and Technology - LAWS6000

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Module delivery information

Location Term Level1 Credits (ECTS)2 Current Convenor3 2021 to 2022
Spring Term 6 15 (7.5) Ida Petretta checkmark-circle


Weeks One-Four: Introduction to the broad field of Science and Technology Studies (STS), and how this body of work is relevant for the study of law; introduction to law and anthropology studies that engage STS

Weeks Five-Ten: Specific and topical case studies relating theory to concrete examples, including debates over genetically modified foods; legal-political disputes over ownership of biogenetic materials in context of pharmaceutical industry and agricultural sector; reproductive technologies, and others.


Contact hours

Contact Hours: 20
Private Study: 130

Total Study Hours: 150

Method of assessment

Main assessment methods
The module will be assessed by 100% Coursework;
1. Annotated bibliography (1500 words) -20%
2. Summative essay (3000 words) – 80% PASS COMPULSORY

Reassessment methods
The module will be reassessed by a reassessment instrument of a takeaway paper for 100%.

Indicative reading

• Franklin, Sarah, Dolly Mixtures: The Remaking of Genealogies (Durham: Duke University Press, 2007)
• Latour, Bruno, Reassembling the Social: An Introduction to Actor-Network Theory (Oxford: OUP, 2005)
• Latour, Bruno, The Making of Law: An Ethnography of the Conseil d'Etat (Cambridge: Polity Press, 2010)
• Pottage, Alain and M. Mundy (eds.), Law, anthropology and the constitution of the social: the making of persons and things (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2004)
• Sunder Rajan, Kaushik, Biocapital: The Constitution of Post-Genomic Life (Durham: Duke University Press, 2006)
• Waldy, Catherine and Mitchell, R., Tissue Economies: Blood, Organs and Cell Lines in Late Capitalism (Durham: Duke University Press, 2006)

See the library reading list for this module (Canterbury)

Learning outcomes

The intended subject specific learning outcomes.
On successfully completing the module students will be able to:
1. Demonstrate an understanding of science and technology studies literature and its applicability to legal studies
2. Critically explore the epistemological basis of scientific and legal knowledge
3. Critically analyse the making of scientific and legal 'facts' in specific contexts (for instance, the genetically modified foods debate)
4. Demonstrate knowledge of the interface between science (and new technologies) and the law from a historical, socio-economic context
5. Critically evaluate current legal-scientific debates within historical, socio-economic contexts
6. Demonstrate a thorough knowledge of key texts in science and technology studies, actor-network theory and law and anthropology.
7. Articulate a sound theoretical and practical understanding of key legal-scientific debates and issues.

The intended generic learning outcomes.
On successfully completing the module students will be able to:
1. Apply new critical methods in their understanding and evaluation of legal and scientific knowledge in specific situations.
2. Demonstrate an awareness of, and sensitivity to, the economic, political and/or social implications that arise from different understandings of how scientific and legal facts are constituted
3. Research independently by taking into account a variety of sources of information.
4. Research efficiently using both legal and non-legal texts.
5. Critically engage with legal and non-legal sources.


  1. Credit level 6. Higher level module usually taken in Stage 3 of an undergraduate degree.
  2. ECTS credits are recognised throughout the EU and allow you to transfer credit easily from one university to another.
  3. The named convenor is the convenor for the current academic session.
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