Psychology, Law, and Justice
Fall 2006 Seminar
Ben Gurion University of the Negev
This interdisciplinary seminar examines law as a social psychological phenomenon with special emphasis on law's impact on justice and injustice. Surveying theory and research from fields such as psychology and law, justice studies, critical psychology, and critical legal studies, we will discuss topics such as law's perceived legitimacy, the nature and consequences of legal reasoning, and the distinction between procedural justice and substantive justice.
Within this framework, we will consider how legal traditions and institutions both enhance and hinder justice within Israeli society and how conflicting perspectives on law and justice complicate Israeli-Palestinian interactions.
The professor will present brief lectures to introduce relevant topics and suggest links among different issues. Students will play the primary role in applying general course concepts to Israeli society and Israeli-Palestinian relations. Grades will be based on class participation (20%), individual or group oral reports (30%), and a written paper (50%). It is important to read assigned material critically, think about its implications, and actively participate in class.
Assessing the complex link between law and justice raises thought-provoking issues, often controversial. Applying these issues to Israeli society and the Israeli-Palestinian situation may sometimes arouse strong emotions. Students should feel free to express their views and to disagree with the professor and with other students. However, simple disagreement is less useful than pointing to conflicting evidence, using logical argumentation, or taking into account inherent complexity. We will often want to know how underlying values and assumptions affect the gathering and interpretation of supposedly objective data.
Required readings will be distributed in class or available at dennisfox.net/courses/psylaw2006.html.
The class format, requirements, topics, and grading system are subject to change based on class size, student interests and backgrounds, language differences, limited time, etc. Suggestions, comments, and general discussion are welcome during office hours or at other times.
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Page updated September 30, 2007