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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

Federalism and the dynamics of subnational legal mobilization

By Alba Ruibal, Researcher at the National Scientific and Technological Research Council (CONICET), Argentina

Caption: "Mirtha Sisnero, main plaintiff in gender discrimination case in Salta, Argentina". 

The literature on law and social movements in Latin America has generally focused on the relationship between social actors with national high courts. This emphasis is partly due to the importance of the recent creation or empowerment of constitutional courts across the region, after democratization and judicial reform processes. However, understanding the dynamics of subnational legal mobilization in these settings is fundamental, given that, especially in federal regimes, socio-legal processes at the local level are crucial for the effective implementation and enforcement of rights.

My article Federalism and Subnational Legal Mobilization: Feminist Litigation Strategies in Salta, Argentina examines the factors that can influence subnational legal mobilization processes. …

Why rural land registration is not protecting land rights of women and vulnerable social groups

By Mekonnen Firew Ayano Postdoctoral fellow at the Center for African Studies, Harvard University


Photo in the office of a local official at Adami Tulu Jido Kombolcha,Bureau of Rural Land and Environmental Protection, Ethiopia, Dec. 2014.
My paper, Rural Land Registration in Ethiopia: Myths and Realities, considers the social consequences of rural land registration in Ethiopia, a countrywide program funded by Western development agencies in a recent wave of land registration initiatives spanning across Africa and developing countries elsewhere. In the past, policymakers in many African countries viewed traditional tenures as anachronistic obstacles to economic development and social progress and enacted centralized reforms to standardize local land tenure arrangements. The new registration initiatives are premised on what I call “pluralist formalization”, that is, a commitment to regularize local land tenuresby recognizing customary interests, in order to promote land markets and stren…

The Racial Disparity in Police Violence

By: Rory Kramer and Brianna Remster
Villanova University


Accusations of racial bias in police use of force have long been a touchstone for civil unrest in the United States. In the 1960s, cities across the country saw massive protests and violence, including Watts, Detroit, and Philadelphia. In the 1980s, Miami residents rioted after police were acquitted in the death of Arthur McDuffie, presaging the 1992 Los Angeles riots. Police violence also triggered riots in the early 21stcentury in Cincinnati and, most recently, police violence energized a national movement under the #BlackLivesMatter moniker in response to the deaths of young Black victims such as Michael Brown in Ferguson, Freddie Gray in Baltimore, Tamir Rice in Cleveland, and Laquan McDonald in Chicago. Under the competing banner of #BlueLivesMatter, advocates suggest that Black people are more likely to be doing something wrong during police encounters than White people, thus precipitating police use of force. Despite thes…

The Christian Conservative Moves to Transform Law Through Legal Education

By Joshua C. Wilson, University of Denver
Amanda Hollis-Brusky, Pomona College



Picture:Wilson, Joshua C. 2018. Photograph. Liberty Law, Lynchburg, VA

 As “gatekeepers to the profession,” institutions of legal education are positioned to provide various forms of essential capital for movements interested in transforming law. They attract, socialize, and credential lawyers (human capital); establish or provide inroads to networks for group advancement (social capital); and create, spread, and legitimate ideas within the legal, political, and wider public's (intellectual and cultural capital).

In our article,"Higher Law: Can Christian Conservatives Transform Law Through Legal Education?", we analyze how three leading Christian conservative law schools and one training program organize themselves to produce the kinds of capital (human, intellectual, social, cultural) needed to effectively change the law.

Scholarship corroborates the proposition that law schools and legal…

Relieving the Tension: Lay Immigration Lawyering and the Management of Legal Violence

By Jamie Longazel 
John Jay College, City University of New York


Picture: Dominguez/Kut, R. (2018, June 30). Thousands gather at the steps of the Texas Capitol to rally against the recent immigration crackdown along the U.S./Mexico border. [Digital image]. Retrieved from http://www.kut.org/post/thousands-protest-trumps-zero-tolerance-immigration-policy-austin
News about the Trump Administration’s “zero tolerance” border policy understandably sent us into collective shock. But it’s important to note that a lot of what happened was not all that new. This particular set of atrocities took place against a legal backdrop where the U.S. has routinely denied basic rights to many immigrants and refugees. Unlike in criminal cases, for example, immigrants are not guaranteed access to counsel. One recent study found that only 37% of immigrants had legal representation in deportation proceedings.

My article, “Relieving the Tension: Lay Immigration Lawyering and the Management of Legal Violence” exam…

Postdoctoral Opportunity

The Newcomb College Institute of Tulane University seeks two postdoctoral fellows in law and society. We seek applicants whose research takes an intersectional approach to law and society, reflecting how gender, race, class, disability, sexuality, ethnic, community, immigration status, and national identities shape law and, in turn, how law shapes those identities. We will consider applicants beginning in the Spring of 2019, Summer of 2019 or Fall of 2019 for a single semester, a calendar year, or for the 2019-2020 academic year for up to two years of support per person. We prefer a two-year appointment, but are open to shorter terms. The fellows will receive mentoring from senior faculty, participate in our interdisciplinary community focused on intersectionality, and mentor undergraduate student research assistants. We expect fellow to participate in brown bag seminars, receptions, and other programming, mentor one or more undergraduate research assistants, and help to organize a wo…

Gender Bias in Supreme Court Confirmation Hearings

By Christina L. Boyd Department of Political Science, University of Georgia Paul M. Collins, Jr. Legal Studies Program and Department of Political Science, University of Massachusetts Amherst, and
LoriA. Ringhand School of Law, University of Georgia

Biased and discriminatory behavior toward gender, racial, and ethnic minorities continues to affect many sectors of American society. The 2016 U.S. presidential election provides just the most recent high profile example of this phenomenon. Vigorous debate erupted throughout the campaign about the ways in which gender shaped public perceptions of both candidates, and the extent to which Hilary Clinton was harmed or helped by being the first woman nominated for president by a major political party.

Underlying this public debate is a rich academic literature exploring how gender and race affect the way we select and assess our leaders, including politicians, judges, and lawyers. In “The Role of Nominee Gender and Race at U.S. Supreme Court C…