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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…

#istandwithCEU

Dr. Susan Sterett Virginia Tech 


The Hungarian legislature has just enacted legislation that will shut down Central European University in Budapest, a unique private American/ Hungarian university in Budapest dedicated to teaching and research in the humanities and social sciences.The university is accredited in the United States and in Europe. The Law and Society Association has joinedother professional associations in writing letters to the ambassador and the Minister of Education recognizing the threat the legislation poses to the free circulation of ideas.The Law and Society Association met in Budapest in 2001 and, and faculty, staff and students at CEU warmly greeted us.Since then, we have continued connections with colleagues in Hungary through CRNs.
People have poured into the streets to protest the legislation.Thanks to Twitter, you can see photos at #istandwithCEU.Streets we hurried through in 2001 on the way to panels or cafes, or stopped in to buy an ice cream, have filled wit…

The Limited Impact of Sociolegal Research

Bill Felstiner is a founder and currently the Vice President of the Chad Relief Foundation, which assists refugees in the Central African Republic.  Bill was long a professor of sociology at the University of California, Santa Barbara.  He has also been a professor at thee University of Cardiff, and he served as the Director of the International Institute for the Sociology of Law in Spain.  He has written on sociolegal perspectives on divorce, as well as on processes of dispute emergence.

Is sociolegal research related or unrelated to legal reform or social change? I argue not that SLR cannot measure reform, but that it does not form the basis of and lead to reform or change.  Of course, there is a big difference between law reform, that is reformulating the rule, and changing even a narrow range of legally-relevant behavior, and an even bigger difference between changing a narrow range of legally-relevant behavior and transforming the structural arrangements within which we live…