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Law and legal research beyond the nation state, 7.5 ECTS (Rätt och rättsvetenskap bortom nationalstaten, 7,5 HP)

Stockholm University

VT24 - Language: English

Course Manager: Pål Wrange
Phone: 08 - 16 43 19
Room: C827

Course Administrator: Daniel Larsson
Room: C894
Phone: 08-161795

 Course syllabus JU05RRN (in Swedish) (11 Kb) 

 Detailed syllabus and reading list (254 Kb)


The course is an elective course and can count towards the Doctor of Laws Degree at Stockholm University.


 Students must be sufficiently proficient in English in order to be able to participate in the course.

Learning outcomes

After completing the course, students should be able to:

  • demonstrate knowledge and understanding about alternative theoretical and methodological approaches in European, comparative and global legal studies;
  • critically analyse and evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of various approaches;
  • reflect on the relevance of the various approaches for the student’s own research;
  • demonstrate ability to assess the implications of theoretical and methodological choices for research design and research outcomes;
  • apply the acquired knowledge for designing a robust research project;
  • write an independent and critical legal analysis based on theoretical frameworks and research methods presented in the course and of relevance for the student’s research;
  • orally present the analysis and engage in discussion with peer researchers.

Course content

Law is today increasingly influenced and transformed by the forces of Europeanisation and globalisation. For legal scholars this development presents exciting research questions and opens up entirely new fields of enquiry. However, it also implies serious challenges in terms of theory and methodology. In an interconnected world our traditional conception of law based on hierarchical norm-production and enforcement within the confines of the nation state is being challenged. Likewise, the conception of inter-state agreements as the main form of governance of inter-state relations reveals itself as incomplete. In terms of methodology, the conventional tools of positive legal analysis (the legal dogmatic method) appear insufficient to answer all pertinent questions.

To better account for the changing reality of law beyond the state a variety of theoretical and methodological approaches have been advanced in the legal and social sciences. The course will introduce some of the most influential among these new approaches and will engage students in a critical debate as to their respective strengths and weaknesses.

This course will be of interest to doctoral students in European law, public international law, private international law, comparative law and jurisprudence as well as to students in other areas of law with an interest in global law. The course does not aim to present the basics in any of these fields but to provide a basis for thinking about these fields in an innovative and broad-minded way. It should therefore be complemented by subject-specific readings for these fields, at the discretion of the respective supervisors.

After the first, introductory part, part two is devoted to various approaches, which are divided into dichotomies, to set them out more clearly. The third part focuses on various “domains” of law, like supranational or inter-state. Although some of these domains are typically analysed from one or two perspectives, this part will ask whether other perspectives can also be fruitful. Part four will bring up some problem areas. In order to facilitate the participation of doctoral students outside Stockholm, the seminars have been concentrated to five periods.


The course is based on seminars and group discussions. Students are required to actively participate in 80 % of the seminars, i.e. to read, prepare and present selected works in which novel theoretical and methodological approaches have been developed by leading scholars in their respective fields. Students shall write short memos (around 2 p) before each seminar which summarises the readings for that seminar. The memos will be discussed during brief tutorials with a professor. In addition, for each seminar, a number of questions or issues will be distributed among the participants, and each participant will be required to present a discussion on his/her respective issue.

For the final seminar, a longer memo (10-15 p) shall be prepared which sets out the relevance of selected theoretical and methodological approaches for their own research and comment on other students’ papers. 

The readings will comprise around 1000 pages in total.

Forms of examination

The course will be examined through the short papers for parts II-IV, to be reviewed through tutorials, as well as a final paper. The final grade will be based partly on active participation in seminars and tutorials (50%) and partly on the papers. The following grades apply: pass or fail.


For more information contact:

Course Manager: Pål Wrange
Phone: 08 - 16 43 19
Room: C827


Course dates
24 March 2024 - 02 June 2024
Course organizer
Stockholm University, Faculty of Law

7.5 ECTS