The ‘law and society’ perspective asks how social institutions, values and practices shape or determine the nature and operation of the law.

This research stream builds on existing research into legal pluralism or the role of different legal traditions within a sovereign state. One example is our research into the Sharia (Islamic legal traditions) in co-operation with the Harvard Law School. The stream also covers the rights and duties of citizens, the rule of law, the global growth of human rights, and how the law is impacting on religion, especially in terms of freedom of religion.

Beyond these national or domestic issues that typically fall under common law, our research is also taking a wider look at the law, and asking questions such as how important is international law in protecting the environment or regulating the use of sea-ways under what is known as ‘community necessity’? How is genocide defined by the law and can human rights laws have any significant oversight of ‘crimes against humanity’?

Stream Leaders


Professor Bryan S. Turner - Professor of Sociology of Religion

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SHARIASource aims to be the world's largest repository of Islamic legal sources and to inform the development of Islamic law globally.

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Other research streams


Political Economy

This will develop the study of citizenship, the changing economy, employment, the role of trade unions, and the changing nature of work. This focus reflects the work of Tom Barnes and Sally Weller on de-industrialization, retrenchment and the labour market in Melbourne and Geelong.

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Social and Political Theory

Social and Political Theory

Social and political theories attempts to give answers to basic questions – what makes societies successful and how would we know? Social theory sets out to explain how the basic structures of society function - its institutions, organizations, groups, communities and so forth. Political theory attempts to analyse the state, power, authority and political parties.

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ACU Institute for Religion, Politics and Society

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