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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

Publishing law and society research from outside North America: Reflections from an Eastern European Perspective

By Mihaela Serban Associate Professor of Law & Society, Ramapo College of New Jersey

Together, the Law & Society Review (LSR) and Law & Social Inquiry (LSI), the main law and society journals in the United States, have published 603 research articles in the past ten years (excluding symposia and book reviews). Only 15 articles had as their geographical focus Central and Eastern Europe, Balkans, Russia, and Eurasia (CEE), and almost half of these were on Russia. This is a remarkably low number (2.5-percent), despite a significant increase in the number of articles not focused on the United States published since 2000. Overall, there is unequal representation of various regions and countries, reflecting the global economy of power, the range of national and regional law and society traditions, and their geographic and political closeness to the United States (China, India, Canada, and Israel, for example, are all well represented).

Why so few articles from a region that has …

How to Tell When to Send Your Paper into a Journal

By Susan Sterett and Paul Collins

A group of faculty and graduate students in the Five College Seminar in Legal Studies in Western Massachusetts talked on a beautiful Friday afternoon about submitting a manuscript to a journal, something that feels so scary to some people they won’t do it. Other people send things in readily, and have tricks to manage any difficulties. If you don’t send it in, you won’t get it in the conversations you want to be part of. The academic conversation will be the worse for it. Still, how do you know? Especially because we are often the harshest judges of our work. Here are some alternatives the group came up with:
When an advisor, or colleague, or coauthor says it’s time;When you have gathered feedback on your work at a conference or working group and revised;When you’ve checked that it fits with the structure and format of articles in the journal you want to send it to, and it engages issues the journal engages;When you can’t stand to look at it any…

A Brief Guide to Reading, Writing, and Giving Feedback in Socio-Legal Studies

By: Mark Fathi Massoud This piece first appeared in the Centre for Law and Society. LSR is grateful for the opportunity to reprint this post.


SCHOLARLY READING

Part of researching and writing well in the field of socio-legal studies is reading well. Reading well involves annotating everything that you read. Each article, book or book section that you read must be “imPECCable” –

P is for Purpose: Ask yourself, what is the author’s purpose in writing this piece? Who is the audience? This objective is usually stated almost immediately in a piece of writing, usually in a preface or abstract or introduction.

E is for Evidence: What evidence does the author marshal in support of his/her purpose?

C is for Conclusion: What does the author conclude in light of the evidence gathered?

C is for Critique: Ask yourself — given the author’s stated purpose, did the author achieve what the author set out to achieve? Assess the strengths and weaknesses of the author’s work. In what ways did the reading app…

Sociolegal Studies, Disaster, Climate Change

By Susan Sterett
 The devastation in Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands, Houston and Florida, the hurricanes, the fires in California, the fires in British Columbia, are not visible enough in sociolegal scholarship, to our loss. Students and others find the overlap of humanitarian assistance, weather events, and climate change compelling; they also lose. Anthropologists who work internationally have pointed out the difficult governance in humanitarian assistance outside the United States: what is the life that is saved? What are the tools essential to saving lives? What kind of governing does lifesaving justify? How do the NGOs who contract governing in disaster, including in disastrous states, bring law? Humanitarian assistance is where many young people want to be, and it looks like where the help is. It’s often militarized, and governs in exception. Often left unacknowledged is the role of law. Yet people and organizations bring law in catastrophe and humanitarian gove…

Enhancing Scholarship Through Mentorship and Appraisal: The CLS’S Inaugural Sociolegal Studies Early Career Workshop

By Vanya Gastrow This post originally appeared in the Centre for Law and Society at UCT. We are grateful for the opportunity to reprint this blog post.


From 17-19 August 2017, Centre for Law and Society at the University of Cape Town hosted the inaugural Sociolegal Studies Early Career Workshop.  An intensive writing workshop which saw a small and promising group of draft papers from advanced postgraduates or recent PhD’s, receive close attention and feedback from Sociolegal scholars and mentors. The long-term goal of this workshop is to improve the diversity and quality of scholarship in sociolegal studies. ‘What? My paper was accepted, but I’m not presenting it?’ I thought, perplexed as I scanned the workshop presentation format guide. The workshop I’m referring to was the CLS’s Sociolegal Studies Early Career Workshop that was held on 18 and 19 August 2017. It was hosted in partnership with the US-based Law and Society Association and aimed to encourage and nurture early career scho…

Towards Intersectional and Interdisciplinary Approaches to LGBTQ Politics

By: Marla Brettschneider, University of New Hampshire Susan Burgess, Ohio University and Cricket Keating, University of Washington 


Teaching a course on LGBTQ politics?  Want to think together about teaching resources and strategies?  You’ve got every reason to check out our new edited collection, and our teaching collective.
The advance of civil rights for LGBTQ people is one of the most significant sociolegal changes that has taken place in the last two decades. Sociolegal work must grapple with the shifting landscape of LGBTQ rights and inclusion. An intersectional framework that addresses identities as co-created best illuminates changes. Developed over the past two decades primarily by feminists of color, this approach underscores the analytic importance of systems of power such as race, sexuality, gender, class, amongst others, and the importance of building movements that address such interconnections.
Social media have enlivened movements for sociolegal change. Some have lauded …

Race, Law, and Sports: Speaking Out Against Injustice

By Susan M Sterett
After my good fortune in working with the scholars in the emerging scholars workshop in August at the Centre for Law and Society at the University of Cape Town, I think about South Africa and the United States together more than I did. Today, race, law and sports intertwine.

I rarely follow professional or college or any other sports. Neither the sports important in the United States, such as American football, nor the sports important in the rest of the world, whether rugby, cricket or what most of the world calls football.

However, on September 24, 2017, I watched the unfolding display by U.S. football teams concerning the U.S. national anthem, which is sung before every sports game. The quarterback Colin Kaepernick went to bended knee last year during the anthem to protest police violence against African Americans. He’s not employed as a football player this season.

President Trump issued a statement calling for team owners to fire players for exercising their fi…