The Place of Law

University of Michigan Press
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It has long been standard practice in legal studies to identify the place of law within the social order. And yet, as The Place of Law suggests, the meaning of the concept of "the place of law" is not self-evident.
This book helps us see how the law defines territory and attempts to keep things in place; it shows how law can be, and is, used to create particular kinds of places -- differentiating, for example, individual property from public land. And it looks at place as a metaphor that organizes the way we see the world. This important new book urges us to ask about the usefulness of metaphors of place in the design of legal regulation.
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About the author

Austin Sarat is William Nelson Cromwell Professor of Jurisprudence & Political Science, Amherst College. Thomas R. Kearns is William H. Hastie Professor of Philosophy & Professor of Law, Jurisprudence, & Social Thought, Amherst College.

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Additional Information

Publisher
University of Michigan Press
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Published on
Apr 21, 2009
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Pages
200
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ISBN
9780472022083
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Best For
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Language
English
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Genres
Law / General
Literary Criticism / General
Political Science / General
Social Science / Sociology / General
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Content Protection
This content is DRM free.
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Eligible for Family Library

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The essays look at the consequences that legal practice has on the lives of its practitioners as well as on the individual legal subject and on the shape of shared identities. These essays challenge liberal and communitarian notions of what it means to live the law.
In the first of the essays, Pnina Lahav presents a study of the Chicago Seven Trial to paint a picture of the law's power to serve as a site for the definition of a collective group identity. In contrast, Sarah Gordon focuses on the experience of an individual legal subject, namely, the defendant in the Hester Vaughn trial, a notorious nineteenth-century case of infanticide. Frank Munger looks at how law constructs the identity of women and explores the strategies by which poor women resist the law's construction of their dependency. In the fourth essay, Vicki Schultz offers a moral vision of equality that straddles the liberal and communitarian positions with her articulation of the concept of a "life's work." Lastly, Annette Wieviorka examines the recent trial of Maurice Papon for complicity in crimes against humanity to reveal how the very identity of a nation--in this case, France--can be defined through juridical and legal acts.
Austin Sarat is William Nelson Cromell Professor of Jurisprudence and Political Science and Professor of Law, Jurisprudence and Social Thought, Amherst College. Lawrence Douglas is Associate Professor of Law, Jurisprudence and Social Thought, Amherst College. Martha Umphrey is Assistant Professor of Law, Jurisprudence and Social Thought, Amherst College.
#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER, NAMED BY THE TIMES AS ONE OF "6 BOOKS TO HELP UNDERSTAND TRUMP'S WIN" AND SOON TO BE A MAJOR-MOTION PICTURE DIRECTED BY RON HOWARD

"You will not read a more important book about America this year."—The Economist

"A riveting book."—The Wall Street Journal

"Essential reading."—David Brooks, New York Times

Hillbilly Elegy is a passionate and personal analysis of a culture in crisis—that of white working-class Americans. The disintegration of this group, a process that has been slowly occurring now for more than forty years, has been reported with growing frequency and alarm, but has never before been written about as searingly from the inside. J. D. Vance tells the true story of what a social, regional, and class decline feels like when you were born with it hung around your neck.

The Vance family story begins hopefully in postwar America. J. D.’s grandparents were “dirt poor and in love,” and moved north from Kentucky’s Appalachia region to Ohio in the hopes of escaping the dreadful poverty around them. They raised a middle-class family, and eventually one of their grandchildren would graduate from Yale Law School, a conventional marker of success in achieving generational upward mobility. But as the family saga of Hillbilly Elegy plays out, we learn that J.D.'s grandparents, aunt, uncle, sister, and, most of all, his mother struggled profoundly with the demands of their new middle-class life, never fully escaping the legacy of abuse, alcoholism, poverty, and trauma so characteristic of their part of America. With piercing honesty, Vance shows how he himself still carries around the demons of his chaotic family history.

A deeply moving memoir, with its share of humor and vividly colorful figures, Hillbilly Elegy is the story of how upward mobility really feels. And it is an urgent and troubling meditation on the loss of the American dream for a large segment of this country.

Law and madness? Madness, it seems, exists outside the law and, in principle, society struggles to keep these slippery terms separate. From this perspective, madness appears to be law's foil, the chaos that escapes law's control and simultaneously justifies its existence. Law's Madness explores the gray area between the realms of reason and madness.
The distinguished contributors to Law's Madness propose a fascinating interdisciplinary approach to the instability and mutual permeability of law and madness. Their essays examine a variety of discursive forms—from the literary to the historical to the psychoanalytic—in which law is driven more by narrative than by reason. Their studies delineate the ways in which the law takes its definition in part from that which it excludes, suppresses, or excises from itself, illuminating the drive to enforce barriers between non-reason and legality, while simultaneously shedding new light on the constitutive force of the irrational in legal doctrine.
Law's Madness suggests that the tense and paradoxical relationship between law and madness is precisely what erects and sustains law. This provocative collection asks what must be forgotten in order to uphold the rule of law.
Austin Sarat is William Nelson Cromwell Professor of Jurisprudence and Political Science at Amherst College. Lawrence Douglas is Associate Professor of Law, Jurisprudence, and Social Thought at Amherst College. Martha Merrill Umphrey is Associate Professor of Law, Jurisprudence, and Social Thought at Amherst College.
We are witnessing in the last decade of the twentieth century more frequent demands by racial and ethnic groups for recognition of their distinctive histories and traditions as well as opportunities to develop and maintain the institutional infrastructure necessary to preserve them. Where it once seemed that the ideal of American citizenship was found in the promise of integration and in the hope that none of us would be singled out for, let alone judged by, our race or ethnicity, today integration, often taken to mean a denial of identity and history for subordinated racial, gender, sexual or ethnic groups, is often rejected, and new terms of inclusion are sought. The essays in Cultural Pluralism, Identity Politics, and the Law ask us to examine carefully the relation of cultural struggle and material transformation and law's role in both. Written by scholars from a variety of disciplines and theoretical inclinations, the essays challenge orthodox understandings of the nature of identity politics and contemporary debates about separatism and assimilation. They ask us to think seriously about the ways law has been, and is, implicated in these debates. The essays address questions such as the challenges posed for notions of legal justice and procedural fairness by cultural pluralism and identity politics, the role played by law in structuring the terms on which recognition, accommodation, and inclusion are accorded to groups in the United States, and how much of accepted notions of law are defined by an ideal of integration and assimilation. The contributors are Elizabeth Clark, Lauren Berlant, Dorothy Roberts, Georg Lipsitz, and Kenneth Karst.
The work at hand for bridging the racial divide in the United States From Baltimore and Ferguson to Flint and Charleston, the dream of a post-racial era in America has run up against the continuing reality of racial antagonism. Current debates about affirmative action, multiculturalism, and racial hate speech reveal persistent uncertainty and ambivalence about the place and meaning of race – and especially the black/white divide – in American culture. They also suggest that the work of racial reconciliation remains incomplete. Racial Reconciliation and the Healing of a Nation seeks to assess where we are in that work, examining sources of continuing racial antagonism among blacks and whites. It also highlights strategies that promise to promote racial reconciliation in the future. Rather than revisit arguments about the importance of integration, assimilation, and reparations, the contributors explore previously unconsidered perspectives on reconciliation between blacks and whites. Chapters connect identity politics, the rhetoric of race and difference, the work of institutions and actors in those institutions, and structural inequities in the lives of blacks and whites to our thinking about tolerance and respect. Going beyond an assessment of the capacity of law to facilitate racial reconciliation, Racial Reconciliation and the Healing of a Nation challenges readers to examine social, political, cultural, and psychological issues that fuel racial antagonism, as well as the factors that might facilitate racial reconciliation.
Social science has been an important influence on legal thought since the legal realists of the1930s began to argue that laws should be socially workable as well as legally valid. With the expansion of legal rights in the 1960s, the law and social science were bound together by an optimistic belief that legal interventions, if fully informed by social science, could become an effective instrument of social improvement. Legal justice, it was hoped, could translate directly into social justice. Though this optimism has receded in both disciplines, social science and the law have remained intimately connected. Social Science, Social Policy, and the Law maps out this new relationship, applying social science to particular legal issues and reflecting upon the role of social science in legal thought. Several case studies illustrate the way that the law is embedded within the tangled interests and incentives that drive the social world. One study examines the entrepreneurialism that has shaped our systems of punishment from the colonial practice of deportation to today's privatized jails. Another case shows how many of those who do not qualify for legal aid cannot afford an effective legal defense with the consequence that economic inequality leads to inequality before the law. Two other studies look at the mixed results of legal regulation: the failure of legal safeguards to stop NASA's fatal 1986 Challenger launch decision, and the complicated effects of regulations to curb conflicts of interest in law firms. These two cases demonstrate that the law's effectiveness can depend, not only on how it is drafted, but also on how well it harmonizes with pre-existing social norms and patterns of self-regulation. The contributors to this volume share the belief that social science can and should influence legal policymaking. Empirical research is necessary to offset anecdotal evidence and untested assertions. But research that is acceptable to the academy may not stand up in court, and, as a result, social science does not always get a sympathetic hearing from legal decision makers. The relationship between social science and the law will always be complex; this volume takes a lead in showing how it can nonetheless be productive.
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