Law and Society: Regulating Communities - LW571

Location Term Level Credits (ECTS) Current Convenor 2017-18 2018-19
Canterbury Autumn
View Timetable
6 15 (7.5) PROF DS Cooper







This module focuses on governance, regulation, norm-maintenance and rule non-compliance within communities and institutions. It provides a distinct perspective to general questions of law, socio-legal theory, and jurisprudence. Key questions include: when do norms count as law? How do communities govern themselves, and what role do law and social norms play in this process? What authority do intentional communities possess when it comes to rule-breaking? What is the relationship between community rules and state law? Can communities function without rules? And is institutional law-breaking (or non-compliance) analogous to individual disobedience? Topics include: legal pluralism and legal consciousness, Foucault and governmentality, norm-following among strangers, etiquette within public sex communities, virtual worlds, governing through local currencies, nudism, self-regulation in a free school, and Speakers Corner.


This module appears in:

Contact hours

2 hour weekly combined lecture/seminar.

Method of assessment

100% coursework consisting of 1 essay of 5000 words.

Preliminary reading

M Appleton A free-range childhood: Self-regulation at Summerhill School (Foundation for Educational Renewal, 2000)
J Dewar et al (eds.) Nuclear weapons, the peace movement and the law (Macmillan, 1986)
J Horrox Living Revolution: Anarchism in the Kibbutz Movement (Acab, 2009)
S Roseneil Common Women, Uncommon Practices: The Queer Feminisms of Greenham (Cassell, 2000)

See the library reading list for this module (Canterbury)

See the library reading list for this module (Medway)

Learning outcomes

critically read complex scholarly texts from a range of disciplines;
use research databases to find and identify relevant texts;
read difficult texts purposefully in order to elicit relevant knowledge and ideas;
work with empirical evidence and intellectual frameworks, from very different sources and studies, in the course of developing an argument;
respond to intellectual questions about law, communities and governance at the cutting-edge of scholarship;
address and explore legal questions through examination of non-legal texts
construct original arguments and analysis; and be able to engage effectively in conceptual discussion

University of Kent makes every effort to ensure that module information is accurate for the relevant academic session and to provide educational services as described. However, courses, services and other matters may be subject to change. Please read our full disclaimer.