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Thomas Duke Labik Amanquandor

Graduated from the master's programme in the spring of 2020.

Photo of Thomas Duke Labik Amanquandor by Theo Hagman-Rogowski

What is your academic background?
I did kind of a five-year bachelor's at the University for Development Studies in Ghana. I have a two-year diploma in integrated community development that focuses on rural development. Then I did a three-year bachelor's in integrated development studies.

What made you choose the Master’s Programme in Sociology of Law?
I’ve always been interested in law and sociology separately and was looking for suitable master’s programmes in Europe. On the last day to apply in Sweden, I had already been accepted to the criminology program at Cambridge University and was just waiting for funding, when I read about the Master’s Programme in Sociology of Law in Lund. I realized that the study of how law works in society, and how society influences law, was the perfect program for me. I also noticed that in the second year of the programme, I could study a course in criminology as an elective if I wanted to, or in criminal justice or human rights, or do an internship.

I also realized that there is only one university in Ghana that has an introductory course to sociology of law, and it’s just three credits. There haven’t been a lot of socio-legal scholars in my country. I was attracted to the fact that I was going to have expertise on something that was not and still isn't readily available in my country. I would be an asset.

That is why I chose the programme.

What did you think about the programme?
The majority of what we did in the beginning was classic sociology. I was a bit lost as to where the law aspect was, so the first two classes didn’t satisfy me. After the third or fourth class, when we delved into the legal aspects, I felt like I would have a really good academic career with this.

I was very happy with how the programme approached the subject. How it conceptualizes law is fascinating and quite controversial in a sense. Everyone thinks law is a certain way, but by studying sociology of law you learn to look at law differently. I like the fact that the programme is very empirical as well.

But I think anyone considering this program should read the programme syllabus and overview on the Sociology of Law Department’s website because the subject is not common knowledge.

Why should one study the Master’s Programme in Sociology of Law?
Everyone encounters law in their daily life, and I think most people have the feeling that there is something weird about law. The answer to that is to study sociology of law. If you study the law in itself, you’re going to end up being a tool of law, you become its servant. But if you study sociology of law, then you’re going to use the law for your work.

I would say that sociologists of law are like engineers of law. Lawyers, judges and law enforcement are the drivers.

For your third semester, you chose to do an internship. What was that like?
I did an internship at the Sociology of Law Department at Lund University. It was an amazing experience that brought me into the department. Other than the skills I gained from contributing to the RQ20 research report, the most beneficial part was the guidance I had and the network contacts I established. I had an enabling environment to plan and discuss my thesis while also doing the internship. Through these discussions, I was able to put together my master's thesis proposal and apply for funding, through which I got 25,000 SEK to go back to Ghana and collect data.

What is your plan now that you have graduated?
I am thinking about doing a PhD. However, I have gotten into Oxford University on a one-year master’s programme on scholarship to study African studies. For my master’s thesis, I studied norms in an African context, and the research proposal I sent to Oxford was to study African issues from a socio-legal perspective. I think that my future career, long term, is to do socio-legal research in Africa, but first I want to, hopefully, come back to the Sociology of Law Department in Lund and do a PhD.