Legal Geography (Space, Place and the Law) (M3021)

15 credits, Level 6

Autumn teaching

Law is a mechanism by which societies organise social life, regulate social interaction, and resolve disputes.

It is certain that law has a geographic element, given that legal regimes typically coincide with territorial borders of the State system, and the State's jurisdictional authority extends only as far as its territorial boundaries. And yet, geography is an element that is, on the whole, perceived as a natural and inert backdrop upon which the law unfolds. 

Recently, however, both legal theorists and geographers have shown an interest in exploring the relationship between law and geography.

Studying the interplay between 'the legal' and 'the spatial', theorists have identified law and geography as being engaged in a dialectic relationship of mutual constitution. Law creates space, and space creates law. In a more critical reading of this relationship, law and space are aspects of one another that jointly construct our social world.

This revelation has significantly transformed the ways in which we think about social regulation and social identities.

'Space, Place, and the Law' is an introductory course for students wanting to explore the critical field of legal geography.

Beginning with a broader reading of the politics of space, this course will look at how societies 'construct' space, and how these 'spatialities', in turn, shape identities, opportunities, and institutions. 

You will be introduced to the methodological approach of Critical Legal Studies (CLS) and the associated discipline of Critical Legal Geography (CLG).

Focus will be on presenting you with an opportunity to investigate how spatial conceptions of law, and the legal regulation of space, work together to privilege certain forms of social interaction over others and to reproduce conditions of social and political inequality. 

Both a conceptual and a practical component will inform the course, as you will be expected to apply taught methodologies to contemporary social and political issues within the domain of cyberspace, postcolonial State-minority relations, and property relationships.


100%: Seminar


100%: Coursework (Portfolio)

Contact hours and workload

This module is 150 hours of work. This breaks down into 24 hours of contact time and 126 hours of independent study.

This module is running in the academic year 2018/19. We also plan to offer it in future academic years. It may become unavailable due to staff availability, student demand or updates to our curriculum. We’ll make sure to let our applicants know of such changes to modules at the earliest opportunity.


This module is offered on the following courses: