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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 teach 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 to administrative?…
Recent posts

Switching Up the Metaphor: from Baseball to Knitting

Susan M. Sterett, University of Maryland, Baltimore County



Metaphors guide what we see. In studying law and courts, metaphors for the law have come from baseball: Justice Roberts famously said in his confirmation hearing that judges call balls and strikes. Justice Kavanaugh followed his lead. Although umpires argued the analogy misunderstands the creativity the job requires, it remains a common metaphor for judging. The valuable website Oyez asks on each Supreme Court justice’s biography which baseball player is most like the justice’s contribution to the law. It’s an incomprehensible question for those who don’t follow men’s professional baseball closely. It also points to justices, and individual achievement, as the key players in law. Others are spectators.

What would show up if instead an activity often dismissed as trivial, mechanistic and feminine—knitting (and I want to include crochet; for brevity I’ll sum up both with knitting)—were the metaphor for the law instead? 
Bas…

What Courts do with Executive Privilege Claims

By Gbemende Johnson, Hamilton College

“Because Congress requires this material in order to perform our constitutionally-mandated responsibilities, I will issue a subpoena for the full report and the underlying materials.” This was the response of House Judiciary Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) after receiving the redacted 448-page Report on the Investigation Into Russian Interference in the 2016 Presidential Election.The battle over the Mueller Report is just one example of conflicts between Congress and the executive branch over executive privilege, where agency officials claim they can withhold documents. Many disputes land in federal court. The Obama Administration Department of Justice spent years in court defending its claim of executive privilege over documents related to the ATF’s “Fast and Furious” gunwalking operation. Federal courts have proven less likely to let cabinet level agencies like the Department of Justice withhold documents than they are with independent agencies li…

The Mechanisms behind Litigation’s “Radiating Effects”: Historical Grievances against Japan

Celeste L. Arrington 
The George Washington University



https://zh.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Saikosaibansho.jpg

Look beyond rulings to see the social changes radiating out from post-WWII compensation lawsuits in East Asia
Since the 1990s, Koreans have filed dozens of lawsuits in Japanese, U.S., and Korean courts seeking compensation for their suffering during Japan’s colonial rule over the Korean peninsula from 1910-1945. If one only considers the rulings in these cases, a bleak picture emerges. Plaintiffs lost most cases. However, stopping there overlooks how these lawsuits have helped produce a myriad of other outcomes. They have indirectly helped build collective identities, reframe debates over shared memories, provide political leverage to push for new statutes that give financial assistance to World War II-era victims, and sometimes even serve as venues for transnational interpersonal reconciliation. But how do litigants attain such indirect effects of litigation? By what mechanisms…

Submit Your Papers to Law & Society Review!

Rebecca L. Sandefur

 The Law and Society Association and the whole field of law and society research owe an enormous debt of gratitude to Jeannine Bell, Susan Sterett, and Margot Young, for their work as Editors of Law & Society Review.As incoming Editor, I am grateful to them for their stewardship of the journal, their generous support of authors and aspiring authors, and their innovations to the Review, including this blog.
The incoming Editorial Board has begun receiving new manuscripts as they are submitted. Jon Gould, Robert Lawless, Elizabeth Mertz, Jennifer Robbennolt and Nicole Gonzalez Van Cleve have generously agreed to serve in this role. Together with participation from the Editorial Advisory Board -- a group deeply appreciated and too numerous to list here -- these scholars’ contributions expand the expertise of the journal’s editorial office across disciplines, methods, theoretical traditions, and regions of the world. Danielle McClellan continues to steady the ship …

How do text messages complicate contemporary sexual assault adjudication?

By Heather Hlavka and Sameena Mulla 
Department of Social and Cultural Sciences, Marquette University


“There’s no video, no injury. It’s purely one hundred percent ‘he said, she said.’ They had a terrible relationship. They were nasty to each other and they don’t get along well, probably never will. But there is no evidence to support the state’s case, other than their words.” Our article, “’That’s How She Talks’: Animating Text Message Evidence in the Sexual Assault Trial,” begins with these familiar words offered by a defense attorney during a sexual assault trial in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The oft-invoked trope of “he said, she said” in cases of sexual violence suggests that without third-party eye witness testimony or material evidence, sexual assault allegations rest on conflicting reports provided by victims, the accused, and other witnesses. But how do trial attorneys reinvent this trope when the words of the witnesses are preserved as text messages?

Text messages are recorded co…

Lynchings and Contemporary Whites’ Perceptions of Blacks as Criminals

By Daniel P. Mears, Eric A. Stewart, Patricia Y. WarrenMiltonette O. Craig, and Ashley N. Arnio


For this study, we examined the idea that Whites who resided in areas where lynchings occurred would be more likely to view Blacks as criminals. We also wanted to investigate whether, more specifically, they would view Blacks as likely to commit crimes against Whites.

In so doing, we build on a growing body of scholarship that has examined the long-lasting effects of past lynchings on contemporary American society. Much of this work points to the notion that historical violence against Blacks has had repercussions that extend up to the present.

As we considered this idea, we took heed of research that has highlighted the salience of race in contemporary discussions about crime and punishment. Many studies have highlighted, for example, the dramatic increase in prisons nationally. Indeed, a large literature now has focused on understanding the causes and effects of what has come to be …

TASER Technology and Police Officers’ Understanding and Use of Force

Michael Sierra-Arévalo
Rutgers University-Newark

The TASER--a weapon that uses electric current to incapacitate a subject by causing complete neuromuscular incapacitation--is ubiquitous among U.S. police officers. Spurred by pressure to reduce the lethality of police force, this force technology it is now used by more than 17,000 U.S. law enforcement agencies.

Proponents of TASERs are quick to point out that research shows that most TASER deployments do not result in serious injury or death, and that TASERs provide officers with a useful, less-than-lethal alternative to their firearms. TASER critics, in turn, emphasize that even if TASERs are rarely lethal, 50,000 volts cause excruciating pain, fear, and psychological distress. They further emphasize that the TASER, like any weapon, can still be misused by police officers.

Though a large body of research examines police force, little is known about how officers make their use-of-force decisions in light of this new, less-than-lethal t…