George I Lovell
POL S 564
Explores the many ways that law figures into the politics of social struggle and reform activity. Analyzes law in terms of particular state institutions (courts, agencies), professional elites (lawyers, judges), and especially cultural norms ("rights" discourses) that are routinely mobilized by reform-movement activists.
Description: How can law and legal institutions be helpful to individual and groups seeking to bring about social change? Should social movement leaders devote resources to litigation campaigns rather than other forms of political action? Does the ideological character of rights based legal claims inhibit or deradicalize movements that employ such claims? This course considers such questions. Participants will examine the contribution that law and legal processes can make to the development and maintenance of social reform activity. Law will be analyzed in terms of particular state institutions (courts, legislatures, agencies), professional elites (lawyers, judges) and cultural ideologies. The class will emphasize the complex, paradoxical ways in which legal mobilization practices provide both resources and constraints for citizens locked into social struggle. The primary focus is on the United States, but students are invited to pursue research interests in other locations.
Student learning goals
General method of instruction
Students will be expected to participate in seminar discussions, write several short papers, and complete a longer term paper.
Text: To be announced. Contact Instructor at firstname.lastname@example.org
Class assignments and grading