LL4J1      Half Unit
Critical Perspectives on Legal Theory

This information is for the 2015/16 session.

Teacher responsible

Anne Barron NAB6.05


This course is available on the Master of Laws and Master of Laws (extended part-time study). This course is available with permission as an outside option to students on other programmes where regulations permit.

This course will be relevant to the following LLM specialisms: Legal Theory.

This course is capped at 30 students. Students must apply through Graduate Course Choice on LSEforYou.


Students must have completed LL4H7 (Foundations of Legal Theory) unless exempted from this requirement by the course convenor.

Course content

The aim of this course is to consider aspects of the phenomenon of law that have arguably been insulated from critical scrutiny by traditional jurisprudence. The questions structuring the seminars will accordingly include the following: What are the material conditions for law's existence as a legitimate structure of authoritative norms? What are the connections between law and other modalities of power that are not encoded in the form of sovereignty? Are the forms of subjectivity and mutual recognition institutionalized by the legal order always linked with progressive social change, or can they also be complicit with processes of domination and exploitation? Most fundamentally: Is law actually necessary for individual and collective self-determination? These questions are approached from a variety of critical perspectives, including Marxist, post-Marxist and poststructuralist perspectives.


20 hours of seminars in the LT. 2 hours of seminars in the ST.

Formative coursework

All students are expected to produce one 2,000 word formative essay during the course.

Indicative reading

Amy Allen, The Politics of Our Selves: Power, Autonomy and Gender in Contemporary Critical Theory (Columbia University Press 2007); Luc Boltanski, On Critique: A Sociology of Emancipation (Polity Press 2011); Wendy Brown, States of Injury: Power and Freedom in Late Modernity (Princeton UP, 1995); Diana Coole and Samantha Frost (eds.) New Materialisms: Ontology, Agency, and Politics (Duke UP 2010); Mitchell Dean, Governmentality: Power and Rule in Modern Society 2nd ed. (Sage 2009); Bonnie Honig, Emergency Politics: Paradox, Law, Democracy (Princeton University Press, 2011); Axel Honneth, The I in We: Studies in the Theory of Recognition (Polity Press 2012); David McLellan (ed.) Karl Marx: Selected Writings 2nd ed. (Oxford University Press, 2000); Lois McNay, The Misguided Search for the Political: Social Weightlessness in Radical Democratic Theory (Polity 2014); Andrew Schaap (ed.) Law and Agonistic Politics (Ashgate 2009).


Exam (100%, duration: 2 hours) in the main exam period.

Key facts

Department: Law

Total students 2014/15: Unavailable

Average class size 2014/15: Unavailable

Controlled access 2014/15: No

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Personal development skills

  • Communication
  • Specialist skills