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Welcome to the Law and Society Review Blog

The current editors of Law and Society Review have started this blog with the goal of facilitating broader dissemination of socio-legal research. We hope that this blog allows us to discuss scholarship and teaching issues that may not make it to academic journals quickly.  We invite everyone to contribute; we ask all authors to summarize their recent articles. The new blog will also allow us to discuss the changing research environment.  We’d like to hear more people contribute to pressing conversations around research and publishing.  Many of us already have these conversations among smaller groups of scholars. A blog will allow a larger conversation with more participants and, we hope, a greater diversity of views.   

The questions to weigh in on are many.  Professional associations and funding agencies occasion talk about the press for data access in both Europe and North America.  What do you think about this issue, in every dimension from ethical to epistemological t…
Recent posts

Asking Who in Gang Violence Prevention

Tony Cheng
JD Candidate at New York University, School of Law
PhD Candidate at Yale University, Sociology Department


Who do violence preventers target to achieve violence prevention?  Targeting is a process of defining what qualifies as relevant violence and selecting concretely on whom to focus efforts.  Law enforcement are not the only ones making targeting decisions—non-profits are increasingly deploying credible street outreach workers (SOWs) who can build relationships with targeted gang members and channel prosocial influences.  SOW-oriented programs have existed since the 1930s, but have gained new life with Cure Violence’s public health approach, which conceptualizes SOWs as interveners positioned to block the transmission of violence among the highest risk targets.  Yet we know remarkably little about how SOWs build relationships and which strategies actually work.  Program evaluations of Cure Violence replications have yielded mixed results, sometimes even revealing increased v…

Sanctuary

By Susan Bibler Coutin University of California, Irvine  As campuses, restaurants, churches, and cities nationwide have adopted sanctuary policies to protect students, employees, customers, and residents from President Trump’s ramped up efforts to deport members of immigrant communities, it is worthwhile to consider how the lessons of the 1980s sanctuary movement might apply to today’s advocacy work.Between 1986 and 1988, I conducted participant observation within sanctuary communities in Tucson, Arizona and the San Francisco East Bay in California. At that time, sanctuary focused on obtaining refuge for asylum seekers who were fleeing U.S-funded wars in Central America.I attended sanctuary events, volunteered with the movement, and interviewed over 100 participants, leading to publication of my 1993 book, The Culture of Protest:Religious Activism and the U.S. Sanctuary Movement. Congregations that declared themselves sanctuaries during the 1980s were motivated by a sense of emergency. …

Questioning Disruption in the Counter-Terrorism Fight

By Martin Innes et al
In a brief article written for The Times Newspaper following the recent marauding terrorist attack near London Bridge, Assistant Commissioner Mark Rowley who is the UK police service national lead for counter-terrorism, revealed that Khuram Butt, the alleged ring-leader of the attackers, had previously been targeted by several disruptions. In so doing, Rowley validated one of the central claims of our article published in the June edition of Law and Society Review, where we highlighted the danger of police and intelligence services becoming overly-reliant upon disrupting violent extremists. 

Of course, our analysis had not predicted the specific details of the incident. But one of its central claims was that delivery of the Prevent strategy, part of the UK government’s wider counter-terrorism policy, was becoming heavily dependent upon a logic of disruption. Disruption is a form of prevention whereby interventions are designed to inhibit the possibilities of actio…

On Communicating Scholarship

By Susan M. Sterett


Authors want guides when revising.  Jeannine, Margot and I almost always recommend that authors think again about how they make readers care.  What does your work tell us about sociolegal processes? If readers are not interested in your particular topic or research site, why would they care about what you’ve written? Authors can always answer that, but they need to.  Your data, for whatever kind of data you use, need a story. 
You can tell that story in a different fashion  in a blog post, which might reach students and draw a wider audience for your work.  Everyone I’ve heard in the two meetings I went to over the last couple of days (discussed  below) has urged that communicating research to a broader audience is crucial today.  
At least within the United States, the question of how to make your work mean something to others has taken on greater bite.  Funding cuts to agencies such as the National Endowment for the Humanities, the National Science Foundat…

Dispute Resolution Outside of Courts: What We Expect of Ombuds in the UK

Naomi Creutzfeldt, University of Westminster & Ben Bradford, University of Oxford
Our article in the 50th anniversary LSR no 4 explored how people in the UK think about ombuds services and what encourages them to accept the decisions reached during dispute resolution processes. Much empirical evidence points towards the importance of trust and legitimacy in generating acceptance of the decisions made by legal authorities. Moreover, people seem to be more attuned to the quality of the process concerned rather than the outcome it delivers. The procedural fairness of legal authorities – the extent to which they make decisions in an unbiased fashion and adhere to principles of dignity, respect and voice – has consistently been found to be a more important predictor of trust, legitimacy and decision acceptance than the outcomes they provide. This research has mainly taken place in the context of the police and courts. However, one reason for the importance of procedural fairness may be th…

Imagined Law: "We followed the law word by word!"

Prof. Michael Birnhack, Tel Aviv University, Faculty of Law  Dr. Lotem Perry-Hazan University of Haifa, Faculty of Education
Our teachers in school, back in the 1970s and 1980s used to tell us that they had eyes in their backs, and that they could see us when they were writing on the blackboard. That was the old school way of trying to achieve discipline, by creating a sense of supervision. Discipline was achieved also through the schools’ architecture, typically with the principal’s office overlooking the schoolyard. And there was education too. Our teachers taught us right from wrong. Increasingly, the new school strives to achieve discipline and order by using technological means. Today, in many schools in western democracies, we find a host of technologies, typically Closed Circuit TV (CCTV) systems, and in American schools, one can find metal detectors, biometric identification and other technologies. Schools introduce these technologies in order to achieve security, safety, effici…

What We Learned at Two Political Science Conferences

Jeannine Bell, Susan Sterett, & Margot Young 
Your hard working editors attended the Midwest Political Science Association and Western Political Science Association conferences in April.  We participated on panels with other editors to discuss journals and editing practices.  We also had informal conversations about our experiences with reviewers, administrative processes around having multiple editors, and the kinds of email requests and responses that editors get.  We also compared notes on our experiences as authors submitting to journals. 


So, first we learned Law and Society Review gets bragging rights for turning around most manuscripts in two months, from submission to decision.  We learned that practice from Tim Johnson and Joachim Savelsberg, the previous editors.  We thought with all the pressure on faculty to get their work out these days, all journal aimed for a quick turnaround.  The journal editors we spoke to at the conferences do.  We heard complaints, though, about…