Critical Legal Studies

  De Omnibus Dubitandum                                                                                     1.4.2010


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Critical Legal Studies is a in-depth survey of the approaches radical legal scholars and social scientists use to study the intersections of the law, discrimination, and inequality in American society.  Critical legal studies (CLS) challenges established norms and standards in legal theory and practice, arguing that, contrary to the view that the state is neutral with respect to individuals and groups, the logic of the law emerges from the realities of asymmetrical power arrangements. The purpose and the function of the law, therefore, is to secure and advance the interests of the dominant groups in society.  Moreover, popular ideologies about the law are said to consist of prejudices that rationalize social injustice. Along with CRT, students explore the related approaches of critical race theory (CRT) and Feminist Legal Studies (FLS).  CRT and FLS share in common with CLS an historical-realist approach to analyzing structures of exploitation, discrimination, and oppression.  Furthermore, these approaches operate with an eye towards the transcendence of material and status inequities and injustices at economic, cultural, political, and social-psychological levels.

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