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Law and Culture


Admission requirements

This course is suitable for 2nd and 3rd year students in Law, Social Sciences, Public Administration, History, Arts. Non-Law students should be willing to familiarise themselves with the outlines of law.


The course explores the relationship between law and culture – a topic that through globalisation, a perceived ‘clash of civilizations’, and the problems of an effectively multicultural society has become increasingly relevant. How should criminal law deal with the cultural background of those who have committed a crime? Are human rights culturally determined? Is law itself a ‘codification’ of cultural norms and values, or can law be used to change culture? To what extent can law facilitate multiculturalism?

Lecturers from various backgrounds will address such questions, combining legal with social-scientific approaches. They will use ‘real life’ cases to clarify the theoretical issues raised, including many taken from developing countries, where the above questions have been even more pressing than in western societies.

Students are expected to prepare well and participate actively in the classes, which combine lecturing, presentations and discussions.

Course objectives

Objectives of the course:

  • To give students insight into the main interconnections between law and culture

  • To sensitise students to cultural aspects of law

  • To familiarise students with a socio-legal approach of problems

Achievement levels:
The following achievement levels apply with regard to the course:

  • to be announced


See: .

Mode of instruction


  • Number of (2 hour) lectures/ seminars: 10

  • Names of lecturers: Dr. Adriaan Bedner, Dr. J. Ubink, and others

  • Required preparation by students:reading articles, preparing two assignments and two (collective) presentations

Assessment method

Examination form(s)

  • Written exam.

  • Two assignments.

Submission procedures

Areas to be tested within the exam
The reader and any other topics discussed during classes.


More information on this course is offered in Blackboard.

Reading list

Obligatory course materials

  • to be announced

Course information guide:

  • to be announced


  • Reader, available at Onderwijsmaterialen (KOG, room A.045)

Recommended course materials:

  • to be announced


Students have to register for courses and exams through uSis.

Contact details

  • Coordinator: A. Bedner

  • Work address: KOG, room B3.20

  • Contact information: By appointment through email

  • Telephone number: 071-5277668

  • E-mail:


  • Institution: Metajuridica

  • Division: Van Vollenhoven Instituut

  • Room number secretariat: KOG, room B3.05

  • Opening hours: Monday – Thursday 9.00 – 12.30 and 13.30 – 16.00 hrs

  • Telephone number secretariat: 071-5277769

  • E-mail: