Grand Hyatt Denver

2009 Denver, Colorado

May 28-31


Law, Power, and Inequality in the 21st Century

Urbanization, race relations, poverty, and crime were central concerns of sociolegal scholars at the Association’s founding in the 1960s.  After 45 years, fundamental structures of inequality remain substantially unaffected by a variety of efforts of legal reform and reconstruction. New forms of inequality and resistance have emerged as globalization links people, economies, and states in new ways. The theme of this year’s Annual Meeting returns to the Law and Society Association’s historic questioning of the relationships between law, power, and inequality.

The current historical moment presents challenges to achieving equality that pose relevant and probing questions for the Law and Society community to address both globally and locally. New questions about persistent problems of poverty, health care, and opportunities for mobility by oppressed groups must be raised and addressed. Old questions need to be reconsidered, as new forms of inequality demand our attention.

Has the use of law advanced or inhibited individual and group rights? Have new understandings of the intersection of social statuses changed our understanding of the role of law in producing or reducing inequality? What has been the role of new, non-state forms of governance in the production of inequality? Should law and social science provide the expertise to stimulate and inform the impending social agenda?  Should social scientists and lawyers become allies to address these pressing problems and if so, how should they collaborate?


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