Does rights theory, feminism, care ethics or utilitarianism – or insights from more than one of these – provide us with the best standpoint from which to address the controversies raised in the following case studies we considered:
Cheating (you can discuss any of the forms of cheating we have covered in the topic block 1 lectures or workshop);
Compulsory medical treatment for mental disorder;
Legal fact-finding and proof in civil law proceedings;
The pursuit of justice and equality in law between men and women (you can discuss
any issue covered in the module relevant to this).
Please discuss a maximum of two of these case studies in your essay.
Student guidance notes on essay title 1 (by Phil Bielby): This essay title asks you to consider whether we should choose to address a controversial question in law and society with one critical perspective only or use insights taken from a range of different perspectives. The main challenge we would expect anyone inclined to advocate taking one critical perspective only to deal with is to justify the reasons why this critical perspective is, in your view, more compelling than the others we have considered on the module. To this end, you would need to discuss your favoured perspective in terms of at least one other (as a counter- argument) and show why the perspective you prefer is more persuasive. The main challenge we would expect anyone to deal with who wants to argue why we should draw on insights from different critical perspectives is how those insights can be made compatible (e.g. rights theory and utilitarianism typically justify different outcomes so present problems for reconciliation). In either case, you should apply this theoretical discussion to at least one case study we have considered in the module to show the difference your preferred view would make. Remember that it is possible for all case studies used on the module to be approached from any of the critical perspectives we have considered – not just those that were considered in the same topic block (so. e.g. care ethics could be used to give us a standpoint from which to evaluate the use of smart drugs in university study). To reassure you, considering one case study only in answering this essay title is enough to get a good mark considering more than one will not necessarily lead to higher mark and could lower your mark if you discussed more than one superficially. Also, we would advise that you dont place so much emphasis on discussing the practical aspects of your chosen case study/studies that you end up with insufficient discussion of the theoretical issues, since it is these issues (rather than the case studies themselves, which merely illustrate them) that lie at the heart of this module. (3000 words)
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