Collaborative Research Networks
CRNs and Organizers
(click on organizer's name to send an email)
1. Conceptualizing & Measuring Justice: The Sociolegal Justice Project
Organizers: Shannon Portillo, University of Kansas, USA, Lori Sexton , University of Missouri, Kansas City, USA, Sarah Smith, Elmhurst College, USA
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Justice is normative, procedural, a frame, and an outcome and is the heart of sociolegal discourse. From studies of the criminal justice system, perceptions of justice, civil and social rights and responsibilities, and access to justice, the concept of “justice” emerges in multiple disciplines and research sites. However, notwithstanding the conceptual, normative, and empirical traditions that implicate justice, rarely is Justice as construct brought to the forefront of our intellectual projects. Furthermore, there are significant differences in the overall goals, vocabulary, methodological commitments and methods such that studying justice has been unsystematic. The goal of this CRN is to bring light to the study of Justice in and of itself. Specifically, this CRN discusses not only how justice is conceptualized, but also how scholars methodologically study a topic that pervades our work but is and often understated within scholarship. As importantly, this CRN is meant to attract scholars from both the U.S. and abroad who are interested in this notion of Justice, how it emerges within their scholarship, and how broader discussions can bring Justice to the forefront.
2. Citizenship and Immigration
Organizers: Jamie Longazel, University of Dayton, Maartje van der Woude, Leiden University, and Marjorie Zatz, Arizona State University.
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Visit the Citizenship and Immigration Website.
Issues of citizenship and immigration are critical to understanding ways that individuals and groups are created and marginalized. Within this collaborative research network, “citizenship,” is defined broadly, to include legal status, membership rights, civic involvement, social participation, and linkages to structures that delimit, transcend, and/or deconstruct the nation-state. It is also important to understand the discourses and practices that implicitly or explicitly define citizenship in particular contexts. Thus, race, gender, national origin, religion, ethnicity, social class and other markers of membership or exclusion may subtly or violently shape the claiming or attribution of citizenship in practice. Moreover, globalizing and transnational processes may reshape both citizenship and exclusion, positioning individuals and groups within and outside of multiple legal orders. Immigration is clearly one such process, and, given the war on terrorism and the restructuring of immigration in the United States and the sharpening of inequality internationally, it is crucial to examine how movements, non-movements, rights, and statuses are being distributed by nation-states and, sometimes, other entities.
Through the annual meetings of the Law and Society Association, the Citizenship and Immigration Collaborative Research Network provides a forum in which scholars and practitioners who are interested in these issues can organize discussions, share work, and exchange ideas. In the past, we have met to compare research interests in diverse national settings, and we have organized panels and roundtables on citizenship and immigration. Relevant topics for papers and panels might include comparative analyses of immigration policies, the ways that subordinate groups are positioned vis-à-vis the nation-state and transnational entities, the redefinition of citizenship in global and transnational contexts, developments in asylum and human rights, the nature of inclusion and exclusion in particular settings, the forms that citizenship and immigration assume, analyses of significant legal cases or international agreements, ways that the U.S. war on terrorism is affecting immigrants’ rights, and so forth. Individuals who have ideas for panels or other activities at upcoming Law and Society Association meetings should contact the CRN organizers and are encouraged to visit the Citizenship and Immigration Website.
4. Lay Participation in Legal Systems
The purpose of this CRN is to bring together scholars working on different forms of lay participation in legal decision making. The legal systems of many countries incorporate laypersons in some decision-making capacity, including lay judges or assessors, mixed tribunals of law-trained and lay judges, and the jury.
Lay participation in the justice system has been justified on multiple grounds. It is said to improve decision making, to reduce the impact of biased or corrupt judges, to keep the system responsive to changing community values, to better represent the diversity of citizen experiences and perspectives, and to enhance the legitimacy of the system. Lay involvement is strongly criticized on multiple grounds as well, including charges that lay participants are incompetent or biased decision makers, lack crucial knowledge of law, or ignore the law. Scholars have also questioned whether lay participation has any real impact on legal system outcomes or whether it is serves only a legitimacy function.
This CRN will help facilitate the exchange of research findings and comparative research about lay involvement in legal decision making. What are the strengths and drawbacks of different forms of lay participation as practiced in different countries? How do a country's historical and contextual factors shape the forms of lay participation? To what extent does lay participation fulfill its multiple functions?
5. Regulatory Governance
The CRN on Regulatory Governance focuses on the study of regulatory instruments, institutions, and actors. The network is concerned with how law interacts with economic activity and with the challenges that emerging social trends, such as privatization and globalization, pose for regulatory and administrative institutions. It examines how traditional as well as emerging regulatory instruments operate in theory and in practice, including approaches such as self-regulation, covenants, management systems, and market-based regulation. It also explores the behavior, culture, and design of regulatory institutions and actors, with particular attention to the varied demands of accountability, rationality, and legitimacy. The network connects researchers focusing on regulation in domestic and international settings and across a variety of regulatory domains. To sign-up for the Regulatory Governance CRN listserv, send a subscribe message to the reggov list here.
6. Public Opinion and the Courts
Organizer: Kristina Galstyan, Yerevan State University and the European Regional Academy in the Caucasus, Armenia
This CRN is aimed at studying public opinion of justice systems in different countries, legal traditions, different regimes and in historical context. It also tackles how society influences on legal practice and law and how legal practice influences on the society. It examines the public opinion of courts, the people's credibility in judges, prosecutors as an ingredient of democracy and rule of law. It has a strong comparative angle: different countries and different regions face very different as well as very similar problems and ways of addressing these. Activities aimed at raising the public trust in courts are often part of law reform projects. Therefore the CRN addresses the issues of rule of law reforms in a comparative light and attempts to give recommendations.
7. Feminist Legal Theory
Despite calls for a “break” from feminist legal theory, and cognizant of the well-deserved criticism that some feminist legal theory has essentialized the feminine and excludes many voices, feminism continues to be an energizing force for scholars within law and across other disciplines. This CRN seeks to foster a community of scholars with a shared interest in gender and equality as related to race, class, sexual orientation, disability, and much more. Although many scholars would benefit from more discussions on feminist issues, the fact that feminist theory cuts across so many fields hampers conversation: many of us, particularly those newer to the academy, do not know one another or the work that is being done on these issues in other fields. The Feminist Legal Theory CRN helps change this dynamic. It allows members to organize panels across fields, encourages cross-pollination on feminist issues, and facilitates research and mentoring relationships. To build our community, the CRN operates as a working group, with scholars presenting works-in-progress on varied topics related to feminist legal theory. We do not set themes before the meetings but instead shape the panels around the work of the participants, facilitating an organic discussion that is not constrained by specific topic or inquiry. In addition, we use the annual business meeting to strategize about other ways feminist scholars can more profitably work together and a roundtable on works-newly-in-progress to further collaboration on existing projects.
8. Labor Rights
Organizers: Marley Weiss, University of Maryland School of Law, USA, Ruben J. Garcia, University of Nevada, Las Vegas, School of Law, USA, and Cesar Rosado Marzan, Illinois Institute of Technology, Chicago-Kent College of Law, USA
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In a global economy, there is a need for new approaches to the age-old challenge of protecting workers' rights and improving labor standards. Globalization affects the nature of work and the character of the employment relationship around the world. Pressures on firms to improve competitiveness through restructuring workforces and production across national borders have led to increased challenges for nation-states. States in the North look for ways to preserve existing levels of employment and income support while those in the South struggle to simultaneously promote growth and investment and raise labor standards. To these ends, national laws may need to be revised, international norms developed, and transnational advocacy explored.
This network seeks to encourage research by sociolegal scholars on these issues and bring sociolegal scholars and experts on industrial relations together. We hope to foster work along two intersecting dimensions. First, what is the impact of changes in firms, production processes and global market forces on work, workforces, and worker's rights and conditions in the North and South? Second, how do existing legal institutions function and what kinds of new governance mechanisms are needed? We hope to explore the role of states, courts, unions, NGO's, existing international institutions such as the ILO, 'social clauses' in trade agreements, the World Bank and other IFI's, as well as industries and private firms through codes of conduct and otherwise.
9. Law and Health
The proposed CRN will serve as a networking and collaborative research site for legal scholars working in the fields of health law, public health, medical sociology, medical anthropology, disability studies, and critical fields related to health and embodiment. Focal areas for dialogue, planned events, prospective grant-writing collaborations and publications include:
- International and comparative analysis of laws governing global and nation-state relationships to population health. Areas of study may include, but are not limited to health systems, social welfare policy, environmental health law and policy, warfare and post-colonialism, human rights law and policy, and economic development law and policy.
- Critical perspectives on health disparities and inequities, subordination and law: Incorporating feminist, critical race, social epidemiological and critical disability theoretical perspectives on the distribution and socio-legal response to illness, impairment, and injury.
- Bio-engineering, genetics, medicine, and law: Areas of interest include repro-genetics, genetic discrimination law and policy, medical ethics and law, medical testimony and the role of science in courts, and regulation of genetic engineering
- Law and health systems: Areas of concentration include health-care policy, torts and malpractice law, health-care discrimination, social welfare systems, public health systems and services, and health-care reform
- Law and health outcomes: Incorporating attention to health outcomes associated with law and policy, inclusive both of law and policy explicitly attentive to public health, and to "incidental" health outcomes associated with any area of law that may have an impact on population or communal health. Attention to health outcomes specific to vulnerable or subordinated populations is particularly welcome.
Across topical areas, a primary goal of the CRN is to enable conversations and study that pinpoint the interactive and mutually constitutive relationships between law, public health and medicine as activities embodied in institutions; and between law and health, with the latter understood both as a socio-legal status, and an embodied experience. An additional agenda involves inter-disciplinary dialogue and co-education on the issue of methodology. Methodologies for conceptualizing the relationship between law and health are in some regards, already robust – incorporating public health, empirical legal studies and a variety of related disciplines and fields. However, certain areas remain under-developed. A core theme we expect to engage in the next several years focuses on strategies for holistic assessment of the relationship of law and health, which do not neglect or negate recognition of social stratification, or under-state the complex influence of economy or political systems on life chances and opportunities.
10. Civil Justice and Disputing Behavior
Organizer: Shozo Ota, University of Tokyo, Japan
This CRN focuses on the empirical study of disputing behavior both within the context of civil justice systems and outside the formal justice system framework. The CRN has a broad focus that includes, but is not limited to, the following:
- The study of the incidence of, and response to, justiciable problems by individuals.
- The study of defendant behavior: particularly in the area of torts (or the equivalent) most contemporary research has focused on the tort victims and their lawyers. There are many questions that need to be examined about how tort defendants and their insurers respond to and process claims. Similarly, there are many questions to be asked about defendants in other areas, whether the area is discrimination, anti-trust, securities, or something else.
- The study of disputing institutions: how do different third parties—courts, tribunals, administrative agencies, arbitrators, mediators—handle disputes and what difference does that make to the outcome of the dispute and the perceptions of the disputants?
- The study of “disputing agents”, including lawyers and nonlawyers, who represent disputants in dispute processing institutions. How do such factors as training and experience, fee regimes, and oversight impact the actions of these agents?
- The study of governmental disputants: we know that government tends to be a particularly successful disputant, particularly at the appellate level. We know less about government as a disputant at the trial or agency level.
- Disputing and civil justice in the media: a number of studies have shown that news reporting, at least in terms of print news, focuses heavily on dramatic cases and dramatic plaintiff wins in particular. We know less about how the media reports the progress of cases, and we know virtually nothing about how broadcast media reports civil justice issues.
The CRN seeks to connect those in the Law and Society/Sociolegal Studies community with the segment of the growing Empirical Legal Studies community that focuses on civil justice issues.
The CRN maintains a listserve which can be used to disseminate information about research and funding opportunities, calls for papers, and conferences. To subscribe to the listserve, send a message to:firstname.lastname@example.org The body of the message should contain the following: "subscribe lsacrn-cjdb" (no quotation marks).
11. The Cultural Lives of Capital Punishment
Organizer: Austin Sarat Amherst College, USA
The purpose of this CRN to invite inquiry into the cultural life of capital punishment in democratic and non-democratic countries and in nations which retain as well as those which have abolished capital punishment. The work of the CRN is guided by the view that the impact of state killing is not limited to our political and legal lives. It has a pervasive effect in constituting culture as well.
Punishment, David Garland tells us, "helps shape the overarching culture and contribute to the generation and regeneration of its terms." Punishment is a set of signifying practices that "teaches, clarifies, dramatizes and authoritatively enacts some of the most basic moral-political categories and distinctions which help shape our symbolic universe." Punishment lives in culture through its pedagogical effects. It teaches us how to think about categories like intention, responsibility and injury, and it models the socially appropriate ways of responding to injury done to us. Moreover, it exemplifies relations of power and reminds us of the pervasiveness of vulnerability and pain.
And what is true of punishment in general is certainly true of those instances in which the punishment is death. State killing is today an occasion for rich symbolization, for the production of public images of evil or of an unruly freedom whose only containment is in a state imposed death. This CRN will explore the cultural lives of capital punishment and connect them to legal and political controversies surrounding state killing.
12. Critical Research on Race and the Law
Organizers: Nicole Martorano Van Cleve, Department of Criminal Justice, Temple University with courtesy appointments in the Department of Sociology and The Beasley School of Law, and Andrea Freeman, University of Hawaii
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The CRN on Critical Research on Race and the Law is "critical" in at least two different senses. The name suggests an urgency in terms of expanding the socio-legal studies research agenda to more prominently include race and racial inequality. The name also is meant to draw upon some of the most exciting work in the legal academy over the past two decades under the Critical Race Theory and LatCrit rubrics. Similarly, law and society scholars are drawing increasingly upon studies of race and ethnicity from diverse disciplines that incorporate cultural studies and/or critical theory. Scholars in history, sociology, and anthropology (just to name some of the fields well-represented in law and society) are doing innovative studies that center race, racial inequality, and systems of racial classification of great interest to scholars interested in law and legal institutions. We hope the CRN on Critical Research on Race and the Law will serve as a space in which scholars interested in race and the law can engage each others' research projects and more generally network with each other. Such a space could be especially important, I think, for younger scholars and/or scholars new to the organization.
13. African Law and Society
The research focus of this CRN is on African law and society. Open to all, this CRN aims to investigate the variety of levels and methods through which African law and society are constituted and change. Recent annual meetings of the LSA have demonstrated that the Law and Society Association’s full potential for scholarship by Africans or about African law and society has not been achieved. Likewise, African scholarship falling broadly within the law and society or socio-legal studies intellectual tradition has not been as prominent as could be the case. Working both within the LSA and Africa, this CRN aims to organize panels for LSA annual meetings in Chicago and beyond. The CRN also aims to promote and facilitate participation in African-located law and society scholarship initiatives. The CRN is also pursuing funding and holding an African Institute, based loosely on the model of the LSA’s Summer Institutes. While the CRN is African rather than South African, this CRN will (at least initially) both recognize and critique the role that South Africa plays in African law and society and in its scholarship.
14. Culture, Society, and Intellectual Property
This CRN seeks to encourage interaction between scholars from diverse disciplinary perspectives who focus on the legal, social, and cultural dimensions of intellectual properties--including patents, copyrights, trademarks, trade secrets, and rights of publicity. One goal of this CRN is to encourage creatively eclectic approaches to the study of intellectual property among law and society scholars who draw on traditional doctrinal and policy analyses, historical analyses, cultural studies analyses, and empirical analyses of intellectual property law in action. Intellectual properties, and the processes of globalization of which they are a part, are an especially promising and important area for collaborative research of the kind that law and society scholars have long pioneered.
15. British Colonial Legalities
This CRN brings together scholars working on law and society in former British colonies. The network welcomes those seeking to identify commonalities and complementarities of law, history, state practice and policy, as well as the many contemporary effects of colonial legalities. There is a growing thematic approach to sociolegal scholarship that cuts across jurisdictional boundaries in counteracting a narrowly area studies approach. The CRN hopes to further this effort by facilitating communication and scholarly initiatives between researchers in the swathe of former British colonies in North and South America, Europe, Asia and Africa. In the immediate term, this means providing a forum through which scholars might organize British Colonial Legalities related panels for Law and Society meetings.
16. Language and Law
The purpose of this CRN is to formalize and expand the international network of scholars (linguists and others) who have organized and participated in sessions on language and law since 1990, when the first sessions on Language and Law were scheduled at the Law and Society Association Annual Meeting. Such formalization is intended to provide a forum in which language scholars (linguists, interpreters, translators, and others) and legal scholars and lawyers can together contribute to a fuller understanding of the complex role of language in the judicial systems of the world. Our overall aim will be to focus broadly on the key role of language in judicial process at all levels.
17. Gender, Sexuality and Law
The interplay between the law, gender, and sexuality is a precarious one. On one hand, the law and legal decision-making are rooted in a tradition of predictability, uniformity, and rigidity. On the other hand, gender and sexuality identities are dynamic, non-discrete, and fluid. As gender and sexuality issues are increasingly resolved in legislatures and courts, the question of how to reconcile these competing motifs themselves are worthy of Law and Society scholarship. The purpose of this CRN is, thus, two-fold: first, to critically examine the law and its relationship to gender and sexual identities -- i.e., how the law constructs, constrains, and/or enables gender and sexual minorities at the municipal, state, and national level; and, second, to engage comparatively with international legal systems, both established and emergent, to shed new light on these constructs. Specifically, this network seeks to promote scholarship that looks at gender and sexual minorities as its own research question and not simply as a case study within the discipline (e.g., social movements, tax law, etc.). Using these critical and comparative lenses, not only would this collaborative space cast light on these understudied groups, but it also encourages discussions about broader Law and Society questions such the relationship between law and social change, issues of diversity and citizenship, and transnationalism.
18. Law and the Public-Private Dichotomy
Organizers: Brian Gran, Case Western Reserve University, USA
This CRN is devoted to studies of "law" and the public-private dichotomy. Among its goals is a continuing debate over the role of legal institutions and processes in shaping the public-private dichotomy for public policy and institutions. This CRN draws on important historical and cross-national scholarship with interdisciplinary bases. Scholars in anthropology, history, law, political science, and sociology, as well as other disciplines, are undertaking significant, innovative studies that demonstrate the critical impact of "law" on how the public-private boundary is drawn. We hope the CRN on Law and the Public-Private Dichotomy will serve as a forum where scholars interested in how ?law? shapes public policy and institutions. This CRN especially welcomes scholars new to the Law and Society Association, especially younger scholars and international scholars.
19. Teaching in Law and Society
Organizer: Austin Sarat, Amherst College, USA
This CRN provides a forum for scholars located in a variety of institutional locations — from various disciplinary to interdisciplinary programs, from liberal arts colleges to research institutions — to engage the question of teaching Law and Society courses. The goals of this CRN are threefold: first, to provide a space where LSA members can engage in discussion and debate around the role of teaching in our professional lives; second, to provide opportunities for debate and deliberation of the Law and Society "canon." — that is, what exactly are we teaching in our Law and Society courses and what impact does this have on the boundaries of the field? and, third, this CRN — through sponsored conference panels and other forums — provides space for those teaching L&S course to trade syllabi, teaching tips, course materials, and other practical information on the "doing" of teaching. You can subscribe to the CRN 19 listserv by entering your email address in the box below and clicking the "join now" button.
21. Law and Social Movements
This CRN brings together scholars interested in the complex relationship between law and social movements. Social movements use a wide variety of legal strategies – including litigation, lobbying, and administrative advocacy – in their programs for social change. Law, and particularly rights, provides movements with political opportunities and plays a role in the cultural life of a social movement. Law is a contested terrain for social movement struggles: movements rely on rights to frame their grievances, to generate and circulate collective identity, and to recruit and mobilize activists. On the other hand, law and legal strategies can exert a conservative influence on social movements, channeling protest and more radical forms of action into conventional political institutions. Scholars participating in this CRN are working on theoretical and empirical projects on movements throughout the world that explore these and many other issues emerging from social movements’ interactions with law and the legal system. Participants have several long-range goals. We hope to develop collaborative research and writing projects and to create opportunities for publication of CRN research, such as edited volumes and symposia in both law and society journals, as well as outlets in our home disciplines. We plan to share syllabi and other teaching resources for undergraduate and graduate classes on law and social movements. Finally, the CRN will provide opportunities for cross-generational and inter-disciplinary professionalization. Unfortunately, most sociologists do not read the work of McCann, Milner, and Olson. On the other hand, many Law and Society scholars seem unaware of the copious sociological research on social movements. Through the scholarly exchanges facilitated by the CRN, we can correct these oversights and produce richer studies that can inform the debates not just in Law and Society, but also in our home disciplines.
22. South Asia
The purpose of this CRN is to bring together scholars and lawyers working on aspects of law and society in South Asia. The network welcomes those working on social scientific and policy-oriented aspects of contemporary South Asian law as much as those specializing in historical, philosophical, and literary aspects of law. There is a growing "law in context" movement within India that is working to counteract the doctrinal bent of much Indian legal scholarship. The CRN hopes to further this effort by facilitating communication and scholarly initiatives between researchers in South Asia and those outside of it. We welcome suggestions (names with e-mail addresses, if possible) of people who may want to be receive information about this CRN.
24. Jurisprudence of Disasters: Law as Contributory, Law as Corrective
How does law contribute to the makings of catastrophic disasters (e.g., weak land use regulation, public subsidies encouraging the population of dangerous places); and how it can facilitate or compel corrective measures in the realms of mitigation, preparation, response, and recovery—whether such disasters are naturally, accidentally, or deliberately caused? These questions provide the thematic nexus for this network. It encourages application of perspectives and concerns already familiar to law and society scholars, such as civil rights and liberties as affected by disaster management, social and environmental justice, private rights and regulatory authority, the well-being of special-needs populations, equity and efficiency in resource allocation, voluntary versus involuntary assumption of risk, and “soft law” versus “hard law” approaches to protecting public health and safety. It also directly implicates topics such as law and scientific uncertainty, reciprocal obligation and moral community, and responses to climate change. This Network is likewise a forum for contact with disaster scholars in other disciplines in the social, behavioral and natural sciences, and engineering, whose research and practice influences and is influenced by the law and legal institutions. Beyond academic circles, those doing scholarly research on disaster law and policy in governmental institutions, research institutes, and non-governmental organizations may find affiliation with this network to be beneficial as well, and we invite you to join us.
The impetus for organizing this CRN arose toward the end of an invited-participant Workshop on Disasters and Sociolegal Studies, held July 20-22, 2011 at the International Institute for the Sociology of Law in Oñati, Spain.
26. Legal Semiotics
Organizer: Sarah Marusek, University of Hawai'i, Hilo, USA
Legal semiotics is an interdisciplinary field of national and international socio-legal scholarship that seeks to understand law according to the visual markers of legality. With a research focus on images, signs, symbols, and sign systems in our everyday environments, legal semiotics expands jurisprudential inquiry through what we see. Cultural, political, social, and economic aspects of legality vitally contribute to the study of law by developing complex notions of rights, property, ownership, identity, power, equality, and marginalization. The aim of the Legal Semiotics CRN is to bring together scholars who emphasize the visual in their inquiries of law and legality for purposes of exchange and future collaboration. We welcome multiple perspectives and encourage a pluralistic approach to theoretical approaches across a variety of disciplines.
27. Punishment & Social Control
Join our Facebook Closed Group Page by contacting: CRN23punishmentandsocialcontrol@groups.facebook.com
The chief objective of our CRN is to bring together seasoned and younger scholars from multiple disciplinary fields and perspectives who are engaged in studying the regressive impacts of formal and informal punitive and social control regimes on community life, within carceral institutions, and implications for governance. We also invite those involved in studying the progressive impacts of rehabilitation and restorative programs across these various spheres of inquiry.
Finally, we invite scholars interested in the ways formally and informally organized groups engage in acts of contestation and resistance from a multitude of perspectives. We also hope the CRN will serve as a vehicle for organizing cross-disciplinary and cross-national research, discussion, and debate on this ever important and growing agenda of research and to create opportunities for alliances with social justice and human rights organizations.
Specifically, we want to foster dialogue and collaboration between scholars passionate about understanding (1) the closed environment of carceral institutions (prisons, hospitals, and other private and public enclosures) ; (2) the ramifications of formal and informal social control practices on the geographies and experiences of individuals, families, communities, and societies; (3) the history and contemporary (or dialectical) forms of penal oppression on socially aggrieved social across axes of race, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, and ability and; (4) the consequences of increased technological capabilities and growing surveillance regimes on current punishment and social control regimes.
28. Realist and Empirical Legal Methods
Organizer: Elizabeth Mertz, University of Wisconsin and American Bar Foundation, USA
For many decades, the law-and-society movement has served as a meeting point for scholars interested in empirical research on law. This CRN focuses explicitly on the process of translation between law and social science. Building from existing and future research, we hope to develop new perspectives on this translation process, perspectives which we then plan to put to use and refine – as well as to disseminate through publications, panels, working groups, and conferences. Bringing together scholars interested in “realist” and “empirical” approaches to law, we will work to build an integrative set of research methods for sociolegal studies. We begin with several specific foci: (1) RIGOROUS TRANSLATION OF LAW AND SOCIAL SCIENCE: First, we do not assume that scholars trained in social science and scholars trained in law can instantly understand each other’s fields with any depth. Rather, we ask what conditions are necessary in order to bridge very different disciplinary traditions. This requires systematic attention to the translation process itself, and to the institutional settings within which translation occurs. (2) INTERDISCIPLINARY METHODS: Second, scholars involved in this CRN work with the full range of available empirical methods – qualitative and quantitative, ethnographic and statistical. Our goal is to encourage a truly interdisciplinary approach, which examines law from the “ground up” as well as the “top down.” Panels sponsored by this CRN at LSA meetings focus largely on research methods, and on translating social science in legal settings (including law school classrooms). We also work to develop conferences, networks, and small working groups which will provide social scientists and law professors with more extended and intensive opportunities to bridge disciplinary divides. More extensive discussion of these ideas, and also links to further resources can be found at www.newlegalrealism.org – and also see relevant discussions on www.elsblog.org.
29. Biotechnology, Bioethics and the Law
Organizer: Michele Goodwin, University of Minnesota Law School and Medical School, USA
This network studies the emerging field of biotechnology as an interdisciplinary discourse. This CRN focuses on multiple disciplinary approaches to bioethical and biotechnological disputes, including law and economics, feminist jurisprudence, legal realism, and critical legal studies. This network is a forum that attempts to bridge the gap between biotechnology and its sister fields, bioethics and intellectual property, rather than casting them in disciplinary isolation. This network serves as a forum to expand the narrow framework of traditional biotech discourse to include an examination of diverse issues underrepresented in conventional scholarship, including bio-piracy, genetic determinism, human commoditization, transhumanism, genetic property, public health, and tort, property, and contract issues in the body. As well, this network adds race, gender, socioeconomics and public policy to the discourse of biotechnology and bioethics. Research and scholarship from scholars in this network will contribute to the foundational blocks in new biotechnology law. The Biotechnology, Bioethics, and The Law CRN serves as a forum for researchers, scholars, and students to contemplate issues where law, science, society, and medicine meet.
30. Islamic Law and Society
Organizers: Tamir Moustafa, Simon Fraser University, Canada, and Intisar Rabb, Harvard University, USA
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This CRN serves as a site for networking and collaborative research for scholars working on Islamic law and society from a variety of disciplines, including comparative law and legal history, sociology and cultural anthropology, political science, and related fields. Areas of collaborative research include the varying and sometimes contested relationships between Islamic law and liberal rights; the transformation of Islamic law and religious authority from the classical to the modern period; contending visions of Islamic law in contemporary social and political movements; and popular understandings of Islamic law among Muslims in the West and Muslim-majority countries. In these and other substantive areas, a key goal of the Islamic Law and Society CRN is to facilitate conversations between specialists in Islamic legal doctrine and history with scholars examining the social and political construction of Islamic law in its varied forms in the contemporary world.
31. Law, Society and Taxation
Organizer: Neil H. Buchanan, George Washington University Law School, USA
This CRN provides a forum for scholars who are interested in the effects on society of the taxing and spending policies adopted at all levels of government (international, national, state, and local). Subjects of inquiry involve any aspect of government policy with respect to taxing or spending, including distributional effects of government programs, theoretical issues of equity and justice, comparative and international issues, and all other aspects of fiscal policy. Participants are encouraged to apply multi- and interdisciplinary approaches to questions across the range of tax-related scholarship: issues of social and economic inequality, international competition and coordination, comparative aspects of tax law, family issues, sexual orientation and tax law, and so on.
32. Gender and Judging
Since women began serving on courts, social scientists began asking whether they decided cases differently from their men colleagues. Most empirical scholarship has been critical of this essentialist framing and found few differences. Differences found in Israel, Croatia, or the United States vary enormously from study to study. Law and Society scholars have found many more sophisticated questions to ask about gender and judging. Although the highest appellate courts of most jurisdictions now have at least one woman member, and in some countries such as Italy and France, women dominate lower judicial offices, the battle for a fully gender-integrated bench is far from won. Both Australian and Canadian scholars have documented the backlash against women judges. And theorists have been rethinking the concepts of neutrality, legitimacy, impartiality, dissent, and representation using a gender lens. Scholars in the U.S. have tracked the importance of gender bias taskforces for documenting discrimination and bias against women in law. Others are exploring how the media constructs women professionals in general and women judges in particular. Worldwide, polities seem to be transferring more and more power to courts and not surprisingly, there has been more focus on who judges are. As courts become more and more powerful, scholars and activists have much to learn from each other about strategies for accelerating the creation of diverse and representative judiciaries. We also look forward to working with national and international associations of women judges.
33. East Asian Law and Society
Organizers: Setsuo Miyazawa, Aoyama Gakuin University, Japan, Kay-Wah Chan, Macquarie University, Australia, and Yoshitaka Wada, Waseda University, Japan, Hiroshi Fukurai, University of California – Santa Cruz
Law and society in East Asia are currently in the midst of rapid and fundamental changes, providing fertile grounds for socio-legal research. Using the momentum provided by these changes, this CRN is formed to provide a forum for promoting research on East Asian law and society, and disseminating its findings to a wider community of socio-legal scholarship. Both Northeast Asia and Southeast Asia are covered under this CRN. It welcomes scholars researching on East Asia, and others wishing to enrich their research and theories with findings from the region. Sessions organized by the CRN welcome papers on any aspects or issues of law and society in East Asia. This CRN started to hold a biennial regional meeting under the title of East Asian Law & Society Conference in 2010 and is considering to hold a regional meeting every year after the 4th regional meeting in 2015. CRN-EALS Website.
34. Law and Indigeneity
Organizer: L. Jane McMillan, St. Francis Xavier University, Canada
The study of law and indigeneity is international and global in scope, and this CRN seeks to promote much-needed interaction and comparative inquiry between scholars based around the world. We aim to provide a forum that comparatively examines the similarities and differences between colonial/postcolonial/neo-imperial nations with respect to native peoples. Our hope is to expand the discussion of these beyond the discourses of resistance and human rights, to foreground other ways that indigenous peoples engage with the law. By doing so, we hope to promote inquiry into the complex legal landscape that involves multiple layers and meanings of what constitute law for indigenous peoples in the first instance. Alongside issues of legal pluralism, we aim to stress the multiple sites of knowledge production that inform issues of indigeneity and that contextualize the engagement of native peoples with formal and informal legal institutions. The CRN is founded on the belief that a full understanding of what it means to be indigenous is impossible without taking the legal into direct consideration. Nor can we fully understand legality in non-indigenous societies without acknowledging the law’s ever-present connections to native peoples.
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35. Legal Geography
Organizers: David Delaney. Amherst College, USA, and Sandy Kedar, Haifi University Law School, Israel
For more than a decade legal geography (broadly understood) has been described as an emerging field of inquiry within socio-legal scholarship. While interest in the significance of spatiality, place and landscape to the workings of the legal is increasing in quantity and sophistication there are few avenues for promoting productive exchanges among scholars scattered across a number of disciplines. The principal objective of the Legal Geography CRN is to facilitate communication and collaboration among interested scholars. The focus of our endeavor is the relationship between those topics conventionally investigated by geographers (space, spatiality, place, borders, mobility, circulation, landscape and so on) and those of interest to socio-legal scholars. However, we wish to promote transdisciplinary perspectives on these relationships and welcome the participation of anthropologists, sociologists, political scientists, historians, philosophers, workers in cultural studies, environmental studies and so on. The CRN will also be dedicated to the principle of theoretical and normative plurality.
36. Transnational and Global Legal Ordering
Organizer: Gregory Shaffer, University of Minnesota School of Law, USA
This CRN will address the processes through which international organizations and transnational networks create law and legal norms, and in the process, shape national and international social, political and economic fields. It will examine these processes at the international and transnational levels, their articulation with national legal processes, and their impact on relations of economic, social and political power. International organizations, trans-governmental networks, and the increasing involvement of non-state actors at the global level, including corporations and non-governmental organizations, affect and govern public and private interactions more extensively and intensively than ever before. The CRN will examine the role of actors and mechanisms in the creation of transnational law, norms and legal orders and their impact on domestic law and practice through processes of transformation and resistance.
38. International Socio-Legal Feminisms
This collaborative research network seeks to accelerate the exchange of interdisciplinary feminist research on domestic, transnational, and international governance concerning gendered patterns of social and economic issues affecting women Although many policy issues affecting women are embedded in specific domestic social contexts and legal regimes,gendered patterns of power are remain deeply entrenched over time and place. Feminist collaborations across national and political boundaries can quickly expand understanding of fundamental problems, options for strategic transformations, and impact assessment. The aim is to promote cross-national and multi-discipinary reflective knowledge about the way women’s and men’s opportunities are shaped by society, including the gendered conditions associated with family structures, labour markets, governance structures, and other institutions. The aim is also to over-bridge the reality gap in feminist theory by placing different methods of research in the interactive context of theory and practise over time.
39. Colonization and Law
The implementation of European colonial projects altered political regimes around the world, spreading its peculiar versions of the concepts of governance, justice, rights, and law. These ideas and institutions have continued in postcolonial worlds, and continue to affect their legal practice. However, European legal régimes were not accepted blindly or completely. Instead the process of colonization led to negotiations – both political and outside of those more ‘formal’ settings - between the existing population and the European rulers. The Law and Colonization CRN proposes to examine legal formation in colonial states and the impact of those formations on the law of both the colonized and colonizers. Simultaneously, the CRN will also critically analyze arguments from colonial continuity. In examining the extent and nature of colonial influence on legal institutions and legal culture, are we unduly privileging the colonial encounter? It is our belief that a cross disciplinary approach combining theoretical and empirical strengths of various disciplines will create a fuller understanding of the interaction between law and colonial processes. For more information please contact the CRN organizers or visit our website at http://colonizationandlaw.com
40. Disability Legal Studies
This CRN invites interdisciplinary and cross-national scholarship on the role of law in the social construction of disability. Disability legal studies locates itself at the intersection of sociolegal studies with disability studies, which focuses on disability as a social and cultural phenomenon, identity, social construct and metaphor. Disability studies emerged as a counterpoint to the medicalized perspectives on disability, and invites scholars to think about disability a social category on par with race, gender, class, and sexual orientation. This perspective opens disability as a new site of analysis for the social sciences and humanities, examining the ways by which economic relations, cultural meanings, social practices, and institutional settings contribute to the social construction of disability.
41. Aging, Law & Society
Organizers: Nancy J. Knauer, Beasley School of Law, Temple University, Nina A. Kohn, Syracuse University College of Law
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The Aging, Law & Society CRN aims to bring together legal scholars and scholars working in the social sciences to share research and ideas about the relationship between law and aging. Specifically, the Aging, Law & Society CRN is intended to create opportunities for scholars to think about and discuss how the law responds to the needs of people as they age, as well as how law shapes the aging experience. The goal of the proposed CRN is to increase dialogue and collaboration on important descriptive and normative questions related to law and aging.
Traditionally, the development of public policy focused on older adults has been dominated by the medical sciences and related fields, such as psychology and social work, as well as other social sciences, such as sociology and anthropology that examine group behavior and structure. The legal academy, by comparison, is just beginning to play a significant role in shaping the emerging field of gerontology. Despite the increasing interest in law and aging across many disciplines, there is currently no international forum for scholars working on these issues to come together to collaborate and workshop ideas. In addition, many of the legal scholars who are focused on law and aging are working in diverse locations across the globe and often have little contact with scholars working in other disciplines.
The proposed Aging, Law & Society CRN is designed to provide an international platform for collaborative work by facilitating international research collaboration and information sharing. If approved, the Aging, Law & Society CRN would help bridge the existing gaps in communication and foster high-quality research on law and aging that is both international and interdisciplinary in scope.
42. Post-Abyssal Collaborative Thought (PACT)
Organizers: Andrea Ballestero, Department of Anthropology, Rice University, Lauren Coyle, Department of Anthropology
University of Chicago, Patricia Hania, Osgoode Hall Law School, York University, Heidi Matthews, Harvard Law School, Ziya Umut Turem, Atatürk Institute for Modern Turkish History, Bogazici University
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This CRN brings together scholars and practitioners working to understand how these various forms of knowledge diversity, asymmetry, and experimentation constitute our contemporary legal environments. We examine questions such as: How do forms of disciplinary knowledge and their manifold institutional underpinnings inform, underwrite, or undermine mechanisms of law, regulation, or “governance” that we might consider “global” or “transnational”? How might certain practices of framing inquiries about legal dynamics as “global” – as, say, matters of “global governance” or “world society” – entail complications or elisions not immediately apparent within prevailing discussions of the topics? Further, how do the exclusions and biases contained within these knowledge practices facilitate or hide the exercise of power, thereby justifying or excusing concrete instances of injustice and conflict? We aim to further unsettle much received wisdom arising from within discussions of the “global,” while critically examining and aiming to account for the epistemic contours of contemporary debates.
43. Innovations in Judging
Organizers: Tania Sourdin, Australian Centre for Justice Innovation, Archie Zariski, Athabasca University
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This CRN brings scholars and practitioners who study Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) together with those whose interests lie in criminal law and procedure. It does this through a focus on judges and their role as active participants in the justice system who engage in ADR processes with a facilitative rather than an adjudicative orientation. Many judges handle both civil and criminal matters and this CRN will help to compare methods and techniques and their impacts in a variety of courts for the benefit of the judiciary and for society generally.
44. Law and History
Organizers: Joanna Grisinger, Center for Legal Studies, Northwestern University, Kimberly Welch, University of West Virginia
Logan Sawyer, University of Georgia Law School, and Kathryn Schumaker, University of Oklahoma
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This CRN brings together scholars interested in legal history, both American and non-American, of any time period from contemporary to ancient. We welcome a broad array of scholarly interests and methodological approaches. Our scholars explore the development of legal doctrines and jurisprudence, the evolution of legal institutions, and the changing role of law in society. They apply and develop a diverse set of methods, including those of social, intellectual, cultural, and critical history. The Law and Society Movement has long welcomed both legal historians and legal history and we hope this CRN extends the benefits of that relationship. Our goals include supporting methodological discussions across sub-specialties and between historical and other approaches to studying law and society; creating opportunities for cross-generational and inter-disciplinary professionalization; and encouraging publication of CRN research, such as edited volumes and symposia in law and society journals, law reviews, and outlets in our home disciplines. We discuss teaching methods and share syllabi and other teaching resources for undergraduate, graduate, and professional school classes on law and social movements.
45. Law and the Media
Organizers: Bryna Bogoch, Bar Ilan University, Keith Bybee, Syracuse University, Yifat Holzman-Gazit, College of Management
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This CRN seeks to study the depictions of legal cases, actors and courts in the media, and to explore the nature and implications of increased media presence on the conduct of legal affairs and on public knowledge of and trust in the legal system. The CRN will provide a forum for the convergence of interest of a variety of issues in the study of the intersection of media and the law that have been explored by scholars from diverse disciplines, such a political science, sociology, criminology, media studies, and of course legal scholars.
Communications scholars have noted that there is no field of human activity or dimension of social life that is untouched or reconfigured by the media. Although law has often been considered immune to media influences, and the media regarded as irrelevant to legal procedures and decision making, still, courts all over the world have increased their spokesperson activities, lawyers for both the prosecution and defense have begun to include media strategies in their legal services and the public as always is largely dependent on media sources for knowledge and information about the legal system.
Within this context of increasing media activity and dependence by the legal profession, the judiciary and the public at large, the CRN will address issues that have emerged in various disciplines, and that will benefit from the interdisciplinary analysis of law and media. Among the topics that have been raised by different scholars are: What do the media tell us about the legal system, and how have the media sustained and eroded public faith in legal authority? How have the accessibility and immediacy of new technologies affected lawyers' practices, the rhetoric of judicial decisions, the changing role of the legal reporter, and laymen's knowledge about the legal system and their reactions to the legal process in blogs and responses to newspaper reports. Are there differences in media coverage of the law in common law and civil law systems, do they report different types of cases,what are the implications of these differences. How has the judiciary responded to the new media, and are there differences in judicial efforts to manage public relations?
46. Corporate and Securities Law in Society
Organizer: Anne Tucker, Georgia State University College of Law
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The Corporate and Securities Law in Society CRN formalizes a heretofore-informal group of corporate and securities law professors who are dedicated to supporting, promoting and providing feedback for scholarship produced by established and emerging corporate law scholars. The CRN organizes panels, author-meets-reader sessions and salons on domestic and international corporate and securities law topics. In the past these panels have focused on the economic, political, social and moral obligations of corporations with regards to individuals, other corporate actors, and society at large. This CRN also examines traditional corporate issues such as regulatory changes for securities markets, evolutions in common law, corporate governance and international corporate law. For example, at the 2013 Annual Meeting, this group discussed disclosure obligations in the securities markets, the implications of international human rights law on global finance projects, corporate social responsibility, crowd funding, shareholder derivative actions, international financial markets, governance obligations of corporate boards, the morality of markets, and the rights of debt holders. Each year panel participants have a broad range of scholarship interests and ideas that generate dynamic presentations, engaging panels, and a rich intellectual exchange among the group.
47. Economic and Social Rights
Organizers: Diane Frey, National Labor College, Gillian MacNaughton, University of Massachusetts, Angela Duger, Harvard School of Public Health.
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This CRN brings together an interdisciplinary group of scholars from around the world working on economic and social rights, including the rights to education, health, decent work, social protection, an adequate standard of living and the benefits of science. Although these rights were neglected for many years, in the last two decades, scholars and practitioners have made significant gains in both conceptualizing and implementing these rights. This field is closely related to the work on human rights and poverty, human development and capabilities, and equality and nondiscrimination law. Together, this broader area of study addresses the content of these previously marginalized rights, the rights of disadvantaged groups and the potential for human rights frameworks and concepts to be more inclusive and holistic, as well as methodologies for measuring the impact of economic and social rights on the well-being of individuals and communities.
The CRN on Economic and Social Rights includes scholars from many fields, including law, philosophy, history, economics, sociology, international relations, political science and social policy. Our goals are to (1) support productive collaboration of human rights scholars across disciplines within the law and society community, (2) promote awareness of international human rights in general, and economic and social rights in particular, within the law and society community, and (3) attract new generations of students to the study of human rights within a socio-legal studies framework. We do this by organizing panels at annual meetings and providing opportunities for networking and collaboration during the year.
48. Legal Pluralism and Non-State Law
Organizers: Yüksel Sezgin, Syracuse University and Janine Ubink, University of California, Irvine
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This CRN serves as a site for networking and collaborative research for scholars working on legal pluralism and non-state normative orderings from a variety of disciplines, including anthropology, political science, comparative law and legal history, sociology and other fields related to law and society. The CRN furthers knowledge and understanding of legal pluralism, with a focus upon theoretical and practical problems resulting from the interaction of different types of law, such as religious law, customary law, state law, international and transnational law. And it provides an intellectual meeting ground for the concerns of social and legal sciences in the study of law in society and the resulting power relations, and in the resolution of social problems.
Areas of collaborative research may include: Theoretical and methodological approaches to the study of legal pluralism from past to present; studies of the comprehensive regulatory activities undertaken by government, civil society, and market parties in various fields and at different scale levels, and how these are affected by legal pluralism; the pluralist discourses of rights over land and natural resources, which remain both socially and politically contested; the effects of the increasing intertwining of human rights and development discourses on issues in legal pluralism; and the perplexing relationship between law, custom and religion as competing sources of normative reasoning and social ordering. In these and other substantive areas, a key goal of the CRN is to facilitate conversations between social scientists, lawyers, legal scholars, activists, and policy makers who engage in study of legal pluralism from different theoretical, methodological and practical angles. A second goal of the CRN is to share best practices for research methodology in this new and growing field of inquiry. Finally, the proposed CRN provides an important vehicle for bringing scholars who work in the field of legal pluralism into the fold of the Law and Society Association.
If you are interested in submitting an application to establish a new CRN, you should complete the CRN Application Form and send it directly to the CRN Coordinator, Doris Marie Provine, Arizona State University. Applications will be reviewed by the Coordinator and the CRN Advisory Committee. If the CRN is approved it will be added to this list for solicitation of members.