Lecture Week 2: September 21, 2012
Topics to Look Up:
Early Marxixt Approach
Society is held together through coercion
Firmly rooted in “Conflict Perspective”- Societies are fundamentally divided along class
lines Bourgeoisie (Upper class, owners) vs. Proletariat (lower class, workers) (Society
and the law in particular is a reflection of unequal relationships. )Argues that we do not
have common interests as a society and we all have conflicting interests
Interesting because views capitalism a contradictory system and that it will eventually
collapse because the lower classes will eventually overthrow the system and turn to
communism … he believes a revolution will happen.Marx seen communism as equality
among the classes….we will no longer need law because we will not need to keep
distinction between classes.
Law is not just about violence, we don’t always do something because of coercion ,
often times we do things because we think we should, law is about getting us also to
“consent”. It has an ideological function. Law tricks us into thinking the system in place
is the best one possible to follow.
Law = tool of the bourgeoisie to maintain dominance
This is primarily done in two ways:
It recognizes that our society does have economic inequalities and brings this to
attention and the role that law playsin this.
Recognizes that law has a role that is to push us to think in certain ways.
Inequality view in this perspective is limited to social class and reduces to focus
on economical perspectives and does not account for different types of
Fails to recognize that law can have positive long term effects
Law is only ever viewed as a tool for the elite
Critical Legal Studies
Shows laws indeterminacy: (Indeterminacy) = “furthermore law is so contradictory that
it allows the context of a case to determine the outcome. That attribute of law –it’s
inability to cover all situations” –(pg. 48 of the textbook)
This movement’s main goal was to change the legal system into one that had a broader
support for social groups connected to social classes, genders, and culture. It has failed
at this objective however it is has opened up and supported the view that politics
greatly influence the system.
Explicitly political and wants to change society by tearing down the legal system
Views and challenges the main assumptions and foundations of the legal system Advantages:
1970 Marxism perspective is channeled into critical legal studies view that also
incorporates the view of legal realism.
Looks not only on the context of law enacted and instead breaks down the core
assumptions of the legal system.
Was tearing down the legal system without suggestions of how to fix the issues
“article the joy of trashing-example”
Undermines important features of law
Critical Race Theory
Emerged in 1980’s - Similar to