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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

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…

Workshop for Junior Scholars, University of Cape Town

Convened by Mark Fathi Massoud of the University of California, Santa Cruz (USA), and Kelley Moult and Dee Smythe of the University of Cape Town (South Africa), the first Sociolegal Studies Early Career Scholars Workshop in Africa took place at the Centre for Law and Society, University of Cape Town Faculty of Law, 17-20 August 2017.
The conveners are grateful to the University of Cape Town Faculty of Law (including Dean Penny Andrews and the team at the UCT Centre of Law & Society for hosting the workshop), to the Law and Society Association for a small grant award, to the six mentors and six participants and others who attended the sessions, to Law & Society Review for its co-sponsorship of the workshop, and to the Fulbright specialist program for its support of LSR co-editor Susan Sterett’s visit and participation in all events.
The conveners selected scholars to present their work in a competitive process. Six participants and two alternates came from a range of countries, …

Can Judges be Impartial in a Deeply Divided Society?

Alex Schwartz Faculty of Law, University of Hong Kong
Melanie Murchison Center for Law, Society and Justice, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Constitutional courts can play an important role in protecting minority rights and providing a forum for the non-violent resolution of constitutional disputes. Arguably, this role is especially vital in post-conflict and deeply divided societies. But if the politics that divides the society more generally also influences judges, a court’s ability to play this role – at least impartially and independently – will be compromised.Our recent LSR article, ‘Judicial Impartiality and Independence in Divided Societies’, is the first ever published study to rigorously consider the extent to which ethno-national politics influences judicial decision-making on constitutional courts.
The article focuses on the Constitutional Court of Bosnia-Herzegovina.Bosnia-Herzegovina is a post-conflict society, still grappling with the legacy of the war and ethnic cleansing th…

LSR Writing Workshop in South Africa

Writing Workshop in Africa
Law & Society Review is co-sponsoring the inaugural Sociolegal Studies Early Career Workshop, held at the University of Cape Town (South Africa), 17-19 August 2017. Financial support is provided by the University of Cape Town and a 2017 Law and Society Association Small Grant award.
Why hold a writing workshop in sociolegal studies in Africa? Responding to a call among members of the Law and Society Association for more research in law and society by scholars living and working in the global South, this workshop is designed for advanced doctoral students and early career faculty in Africa.The workshop is purposefully small, to promote focused discussion, mentoring, and peer networking. The goal is to give a promising group of manuscripts the close attention they deserve from senior scholars and mentors, to help ready those papers for submission and publication.
Six participants and their papers have now been selected for inclusion into the inau…

LSR in Mexico City

The recent LSA meetings in Mexico City allowed the three co-editors and the book review editor, as well as the representative from the publisher, Wiley, to talk about the Law and Society Review (LSR). We covered journal business with Mexican spicy hot chocolate in hand.  Look for more posts on this Blog summarizing recent articles, on writing manuscripts, and on opportunities to write book reviews.  
 Jeannine and Margot also met with a group of LSR Board Members over breakfast.  We are grateful for the energy, expertise, and enthusiasm these scholars bring to our journal team.  We invited posts to the blog from board members.  (We invite them from everyone in the law and society community.)  Board members suggested ideas for some virtual special issues.  These issues allow us to gather already published articles.  When we put those together, Wiley makes the articles freely available for a time.  Susan represented the Co-editors on both the LSA Board of Trustees and the Publication Com…

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…