Uusi opinto-opas (sisältäen myös opetusohjelmat) lukuvuodelle 2018-2019 sijaitsee osoitteessa https://opas.peppi.utu.fi . Tältä sivustolta löytyvät enää vanhat opinto-oppaat ja opetusohjelmat.

The new study guide (incl. teaching schedules) for academic year 2018-2019 can be found at https://studyguide.utu.fi. This site contains only previous years' guides.

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Archived Curricula Guide 2016–2018
Curricula Guide is archieved. Please refer to current Curricula Guides
OTT12061 Discourse Analysis for Lawyers 3–5 ECTS
Organised by
Law, Doctor of Law
Person in charge
Johanna Niemi

Learning outcomes

The purpose of this course is to reflect on the relationship between legal studies and theoretical and methodological developments in the cultural and social sciences; especially after the "linguistic turn" and to learn how to use discourse analysis in legal research. More specifically, the goal is to examine how the legal discourse works, what are its tacitly assumed underpinnings and how it constructs its implicit interpretative rules. The course should give students a broader set of methods to use in legal analysis and to facilitate cooperation in interdisciplinary research programs.


1) Firstly, the students will get an introduction to qualitative methods in social and cultural studies from a perspective of a post-graduate student in law.
2) Secondly, special attention will be paid to discourse analysis, which has become the commonly used method in cultural and social studies. Also rhetoric and narrative studies and also feminist studies will be discussed.
3) Thirdly, we will discuss how discourse analysis can be used as a method of critical legal research and how it could benefit even a traditional legal analysis. How are concepts and social relations constructed in the legal texts?

Further information on prerequisites and recommendations

A doctoral course. Pre-requirement is master exam or equivalent.

Teaching methods

Teaching method Contact Online
Independent work

Teaching language


Modes of study

Participation into lectures and discussions. The course shall convene once each month (4 hours), consisting of lectures and discussions (2 h) and data sessions (2 h). For each session there will be a literature set that needs to be studied in advance.
Each participant shall prepare a presentation of one study that has utilized discourse analysis.
Each participant shall find one text for a data session.

Participation to at least six lectures and data-sessions (3 op).



Study materials

Niemi-Kiesiläinen J., P. Honkatukia & M. Ruuskanen, Legal Texts as Discourses. In Gunnarsson & Svensson & Davies (eds), Exploiting the Limits of Law. Ashgate 2007. p. 69-88.

Smart Carol (1995), Law, Crime and Sexuality. Sage 1995. p. 186-199.

Howarth, David (2000), Discourse. Open University Press. 142 s.

Hall Stuart, Representation. Cultural Representations and Signifying Practices. Sage 1997. p. 1-8.

Hunt Alan & Gary Wickham, Foucault and law. p. 39-59.

Burr, V. (1999) An Introduction to Social Constructionism. London and New York, Routledge (first published 1995)

Berger, Peter L., Luckman, Thomas (1966) The Social Construction of Reality. A Treatise in the Sociology of Knowledge. New York, Doubleday. p. 66-79.

Laclau Ernesto & Mouffe Chantal, Hegemony and Socialist Strategy. Towards a Radical Democratic Politics. 1985/2001. 104-115, 134-145.

Shuy, Roger (2001) Discourse Analysis in the Legal Context. In Schiffin, Deborah, Tannen, Deborah, Hamilton, Heidi E. (eds.) The Handbook of Discourse Analysis. Malden, Massachusetts & Oxford, Blackwell Publishers, pp. 437—452.

Kendall, Shari & Tannen, Deborah (2001) Discourse and Gender. In Schiffin, Deborah, Tannen, Deborah, Hamilton, Heidi E. (eds.) The Handbook of Discourse Analysis. Malden, Massachusetts & Oxford, Blackwell Publishers, pp. 548—567.

Fairclough, Norman (1996) Discourse and Social Change. Cambridge, Polity Press.

Conley John M. & O'Barr William M., Just Words. Law, Language and Power. University of Chicago Press 1998.

Van Dijk (2001) Critical Disourse Analysis. In Schiffin, Deborah, Tannen, Deborah, Hamilton, Heidi E. (eds.) The Handbook of Discourse Analysis. Malden, Massachusetts & Oxford, Blackwell Publishers, pp. 363—415.

O’Donovan, Katherine (1985), Sexual Divisions in Law. p. 2-15

Butler, Judith (1990), Gender Trouble. Routledge. p. 128-149. 

Lacey Nicola, unspeakable subjects. Feminist essays in legal and social theory. Hart Publishing 1998.

Davies, Margaret (1997), taking the inside out. In Naffine & Owens (eds), sexing the subject of law. Sweet & Maxwell p. 25-41.

Further information

Registration on moodle.utu.fi Discourse analysis for lawyers (Course code OTT12061).

Belongs to following study modules

Faculty of Law
Archived Teaching Schedule. Please refer to current Teaching Shedule.
Implementation details are unavailable.
Faculty of Law
Bachelor of Laws
Master of Laws DP
MDP in Law and Information Society
Doctor of Laws
Turku Law School