It’s a common complaint: the United States is overrun by rules and procedures that shackle professional judgment, have no valid purpose, and serve only to appease courts and lawyers. Charles R. Epp argues, however, that few Americans would want to return to an era without these legalistic policies, which in the 1970s helped bring recalcitrant bureaucracies into line with a growing national commitment to civil rights and individual dignity. Focusing on three disparate policy areas—workplace sexual harassment, playground safety, and police brutality in both the United States and the United Kingdom—Epp explains how activists and professionals used legal liability, lawsuit-generated publicity, and innovative managerial ideas to pursue the implementation of new rights. Together, these strategies resulted in frameworks designed to make institutions accountable through intricate rules, employee training, and managerial oversight. Explaining how these practices became ubiquitous across bureaucratic organizations, Epp casts today’s legalistic state in an entirely new light.
Law and Society is a rapidly-growing interdisciplinary field that turns on its head the conventional, idealized view of the “Law” as a magisterial abstraction. Kitty Calavita’s Invitation to Law and Society brilliantly brings to life the ways in which law shapes and manifests itself in the institutions and interactions of human society, while inviting the reader into conversations that introduce the field’s dominant themes and most lively disagreements. Deftly interweaving scholarship with familiar personal examples, Calavita shows how scholars in the discipline are collectively engaged in a subversive exposé of law’s public mythology. While surveying prominent issues and distinctive approaches to the use of the law in everyday life, as well as its potential as a tool for social change, this volume provides a view of law that is more real but just as compelling as its mythic counterpart. In a field of inquiry that has long lacked a sophisticated yet accessible introduction to its ways of thinking, Invitation to Law and Society will serve as an engaging and indispensible guide.
Law and society is a rapidly growing field that turns the conventional view of law as mythical abstraction on its head. Kitty Calavita brilliantly brings to life the ways in which law is found not only in statutes and courtrooms but in our institutions and interactions, while inviting readers into conversations that introduce the field’s dominant themes and most lively disagreements. Deftly interweaving scholarship with familiar examples, Calavita shows how scholars in the discipline are collectively engaged in a subversive exposé of law’s public mythology. While surveying prominent issues and distinctive approaches to both law as it is written and actual legal practices, as well as the law’s potential as a tool for social change, this volume provides a view of law that is more real but just as compelling as its mythic counterpart. With this second edition of Invitation to Law and Society, Calavita brings up to date what is arguably the leading introduction to this exciting, evolving field of inquiry and adds a new chapter on the growing law and cultural studies movement.
Toronto prides itself on being “the world’s most diverse city,” and its officials seek to support this diversity through programs and policies designed to promote social inclusion. Yet this progressive vision of law often falls short in practice, limited by problems inherent in the political culture itself. In Everyday Law on the Street, Mariana Valverde brings to light the often unexpected ways that the development and implementation of policies shape everyday urban life. Drawing on four years spent participating in council hearings and civic association meetings and shadowing housing inspectors and law enforcement officials as they went about their day-to-day work, Valverde reveals a telling transformation between law on the books and law on the streets. She finds, for example, that some of the democratic governing mechanisms generally applauded—public meetings, for instance—actually create disadvantages for marginalized groups, whose members are less likely to attend or articulate their concerns. As a result, both officials and citizens fail to see problems outside the point of view of their own needs and neighborhood. Taking issue with Jane Jacobs and many others, Valverde ultimately argues that Toronto and other diverse cities must reevaluate their allegiance to strictly local solutions. If urban diversity is to be truly inclusive—of tenants as well as homeowners, and recent immigrants as well as longtime residents—cities must move beyond micro-local planning and embrace a more expansive, citywide approach to planning and regulation.