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J. E. Penner and E. Melissaris

This chapter first reviews some fundamental tenets of Marxist social and political theory, and then outlines some of the ways in which the place of law has been conceptualised in Marxist theory. This is followed by a discussion of an account of law that is heavily influenced by Marx, namely the critical legal studies movement.


Marie-Bénédicte Dembour

This chapter reviews six critiques of human rights, deriving from realist, utilitarian, Marxist, particularist (cultural relativist), feminist, and post-colonial theoretical perspectives. The first three critiques emerged in reaction to the (successive) French Declarations of the Rights of Man of the late eighteenth century; the last three were fully developed in reaction to the International Bill of Rights enacted after the Second World War. Each of these critiques reveals a gap between what human rights claim to be or achieve, on the one hand, and what human rights are or do in practice, on the other.


This chapter focuses on radical criminology as opposed to criminology, with emphasis on the attempts of its proponents to break with the perceived limitations of the sociology of deviance. It first traces the roots of radical criminology to Karl Marx’s theories of capitalism and class conflict, its genesis as the ‘new criminology’, later termed ‘left idealism’, and then became the more social democratic ‘left realism’. The study of relative deprivation was critical in this respect. It examines the work of the Birmingham Centre of Contemporary Cultural Studies together with the development of radical criminology in America It also analyses The New Criminology (1973) by Young, Taylor, and Walton, which presents Marxism as their own model for a fully social theory. The chapter concludes with a review of criticisms against radical criminology as well as consideration of the latest research on the crimes of the powerful, elite deviance, and institutional corruption.


James Penner and Emmanuel Melissaris

Fully updated and revised McCoubrey & White’s Textbook on Jurisprudence clearly breaks down the complexities of this often daunting yet fascinating subject. Sophisticated ideas are explained concisely and with clarity, ensuring the reader is aware of the subtleties of the subject yet not overwhelmed. With chapters dedicated to both key concepts and leading theorists, this text takes a wide-ranging look at jurisprudence and places central ideas in context. In particular it centres around one of the leading theorists, H. L. A. Hart, and considers the landscape of jurisprudence in relation to his seminal The Concept of Law, looking at the key ideas that influenced him and considering the response to his work. Coverage of post-modern and feminist legal theory is also included, alongside discussion of key theorists such as Thomas Hobbes, Immanuel Kant, and John Rawls. Logically organised to support the topics commonly taught on jurisprudence and legal theory courses, this text provides an easy-to-follow and digestible account of this wide-ranging subject, making it the ideal companion text for further reading and research throughout your course. New to this fifth edition are: substantial revision of Part 1: Theories of the Nature of Law; discussion of philosophical issues in law, featuring three new chapters: The Building Blocks of Law: Norms and their Nature; Governing and Obedience; and Law and Adjudication; chapters on the political and legal philosophies of Hobbes, Kant, and Rawls; and substantial revision of the chapters on Marxism and postmodern legal theory.