Academic Catalog


Foothill College Course Outline of Record

Foothill College Course Outline of Record
Heading Value
Units: 4
Hours: 4 lecture per week (48 total per quarter)
Degree & Credit Status: Degree-Applicable Credit Course
Foothill GE: Area IV: Social & Behavioral Sciences
Transferable: CSU/UC
Grade Type: Letter Grade (Request for Pass/No Pass)
Repeatability: Not Repeatable

Student Learning Outcomes

  • Students should be able to identify different lawmaking systems in the United States.
  • Students should be able to compare and contrast major theoretical approaches to the study of law and society.


Introduction to the relationship of law, society and the individual. Institutional analysis of factors underlying the creation, maintenance, and change of legal systems. Theories of jurisprudence and practical problems of law enforcement and the administration of justice.

Course Objectives

The student will be able to:
A. apply the basic fundamentals of law and further understand the functions of a legal system in human society.
B. develop a functional knowledge of legal terminology and procedures.
C. acquire an understanding of socio-legal conflicts and problems.
D. gain practical insights concerning the individual's rights, duties and remedies under various systems of law.
E. demonstrate additional reading, writing and critical thinking skills related to legal research and methodology.
F. understand the adjudication of social issues resulting from cultural diversity and ethnic pluralism of American society.

Course Content

A. Survey of the mechanics of social control and study of comparative legal systems
B. Historical analysis of legal changes as products of social evolution and cultural influences
C. Definitions of law and theories of jurisprudence
D. Analyze relationships between law enforcement systems and individual rights, including minority protections and discriminations
E. Functional theories of punishment and problems of equal treatment under the law given stratification (social class) inequalities
F. Study of sources of law and the problems of maintaining judicial consistency
G. Analysis of relationships between substantive legal rights and procedural legal remedies
H. Case method analysis on adjudication of social issues relevant to following topics:
1. Administration of criminal justice
2. Life and quality of life
3. Family law
4. Personal liberties
5. Individualism
6. Consumer/debtor rights
7. Poverty and welfare
8. Federal and State government powers/actions versus individual rights and duties

Lab Content

Not applicable.

Special Facilities and/or Equipment

When taught as an online distance learning section, students and faculty need ongoing and continuous Internet and Email access.

Method(s) of Evaluation

May include, but are not limited to:
A. Class discussions
B. Active learning exercises
C. Oral presentations
D. Critical essay(s)
E. Examinations or quizzes

Method(s) of Instruction

Lecture, Discussion, Oral presentations, Electronic discussions/chat.

Representative Text(s) and Other Materials

Lippman, Matthew. Law and Society. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publishing, 2015.

Barkan, Steven E. Law and Society: An Introduction. New York: Routledge Taylor and Francis, 2016.

MacDonald. Social Context and Social Location in the Sociology of Law. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2001. (This edition is the most recent and is considered current and relevant.)

Walsh, Anthony, and Craig Hemmens. Law, Justice and Society: A Sociolegal Introduction. 3rd ed. London: Oxford University, 2014.


Types and/or Examples of Required Reading, Writing, and Outside of Class Assignments

A. College level readings from primary and secondary sources.

B. College level writing assignments based on primary and secondary source reflection and/or analysis.