Skip to main content


Undergraduate Module Descriptor

LAW3186: Law, Politics and Power

This module descriptor refers to the 2023/4 academic year.


NQF Level 6
Credits 15 ECTS Value 7.5
Term(s) and duration

This module will run during term 1 (11 weeks)

Academic staff

Professor Stephen Skinner (Convenor)





Available via distance learning


This module is about the ways in which the relationships between law, politics and the power of the state have been justified theoretically and developed in practice in different sorts of system over time. The module gives you the opportunity to learn about law and the state from the seventeenth to the twenty-first centuries, including classical liberal theories of the social contract, the emergence of modern democracy and liberal democracy from the 1800s to today, and the ways in which the ideologies and practices of Communist, Fascist and National Socialist systems envisaged and implemented their own versions of the state and law during the twentieth century. The module will examine the foundations and purposes of the ‘rule of law’, how it differs from ‘rule by law’, and the extent to which key attributes of liberal democracy and anti-democratic systems can be understood in relation to each other. This module is designed to give you the opportunity to explore the nature and role of law and its relationships with politics in different conceptions of society, to question your assumptions about law as an instrument of government, and to develop your own critical understanding of law as the product of particular socio-political, theoretical and historical contexts.

The module is suitable for both law and non-law students. You do not require any particular background in law, politics or related theoretical disciplines and the module will enable you to build on the knowledge you have acquired in your studies so far. As such, the module is suitable for students from a range of backgrounds and will be particularly useful for you if you are interested in developing a theoretical, historical and interdisciplinary approach to your studies. This is a module for self-motivating students who enjoy the challenge of reading and participating in discussions.

Module created


Last revised