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Showing posts from March, 2017

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…