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Welcome to the Law and Society Review Blog


The 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 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? What do we think about the use of Amazon Mechanical Turk as a research tool? How do ethical practices translate to obligations cross-nationally? What are ethical dilemmas in research resulting from the increasing availability of records on the internet? What do we do with what we know about the production of records by state agencies, including police, when big data analytics often do not rely on that knowledge?
We live in the midst of information overload, and the wish to cut through the noise allows elites to make simple false statements, repeating them over and over and possibly promoting significant policy changes. We do not know whether a blog making information more accessible will help counter ‘alternative facts.’ We do know we want to make the forum available.

Please send all proposed contributions to lsa5.lsrblog@blogger.com. Guidelines are on the ‘Guidelines’ tab.

We would like to thank Wiley and the Law and Society Association for their encouragement and Danielle McClellan for her help. 

Popular posts from this blog

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…

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? 
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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…