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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

A Response to Tyler

By Kitty Calavita and Valerie Jenness, University of California, Irvine

We appreciate Tom Tyler’s close read of our article, “It Depends on the Outcome’: Prisoners, Grievances, and Perceptions of Justice,” and his pinpointing of issues of concern to him. We would like to respond here to just a few points.

Most importantly, it is a mischaracterization to say, as Tyler does, that we argue “that perceptions of procedural justice do not matter in the prison context.” As we say in the abstract (“These findings do not refute the importance of procedural justice” [p. 41]) and throughout the paper (e.g., “Nor do we argue that procedural justice is not important to these prisoners” [p. 43]), procedural justice is important. It matters, both as a moral principle and as a concrete reality for people involuntarily interacting with the long arm of the state, whether in a police stop or in a prison cell. The prisoners we interviewed clearly want to be treated fairly and with respect; nevertheless,…

Comment: Making valid claims in social science research: A comment on Jenness and Calavita

By Tom Tyler, Yale Law School

I am writing to comment on several methodological issues raised by the article by Valerie Jenness and Kitty Calavita, entitled “It depends on the outcome”: Prisoners, grievances, and perceptions of justice”. I am pleased that the methodology blog for Law and Society Review has been created and provides a forum to discuss research design issues. I will address three aspects of the study: operationalization of the variables; statistical analysis; and inclusiveness of the literature review.

The Jenness/Calavita paper studies California prisons using data collected through interviews with prisoners. The paper says that it tests the perceptual procedural justice model, in particular there are frequent references to the Tyler model, in a prison setting. The study concludes that “prisoners privilege the actual outcome of disputes as their barometer of justice” showing “the dominance of substantive outcomes” (from the abstract)”.

I agree with Jenness and Cala…