Getting Justice and Getting Even

Author: Sally Engle Merry
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
ISBN: 0226520692
Format: PDF, Mobi
Download Now
Ordinary Americans often bring family and neighborhood problems to court, seeking justice or revenge. The litigants in these local squabbles encounter law at its boundaries in the corridors of busy city courthouses, in the offices of court clerks, and in the church parlors used by mediation programs. Getting Justice and Getting Even concerns the legal consciousness of working class Americans and their experiences with court and mediation. Following cases into and through the courts, Sally Engle Merry provides an ethnographic study of local law and of the people who use it in a New England city. The litigants, primarily white, native-born, and working class, go to court because as part of mainstream America they feel entitled to use its legal system. Although neither powerful nor highly educated, they expect the law's support when they face intolerable infringements of their rights, privacy, and safety. Yet as personal problems enter the legal system and move through mediation sessions, clerk's hearings, and prosecutor's conferences, the citizen plaintiff rapidly loses control of the process. Court officials and mediators interpret and characterize the meaning of these experiences, reframing and categorizing them in different discourses. Some plaintiffs yield to these interpretations, but others resist, struggling to assert their own version of the problem. Ultimately, Merry exposes the paradox of legal entitlement. While going to court allows an individual to dominate domestic relationships, the litigant must increasingly yield control of the situation to the court that supplies that power.

The Politics of Islamic Law

Author: Iza R. Hussin
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
ISBN: 022632334X
Format: PDF, ePub, Mobi
Download Now
"In [this book], Iza R. Hussin compares India, Malaya, and Egypt during the British colonial period in order to trace the making and transformation of the contemporary category of "Islamic law." She demonstrates that not only is Islamic law not the shari{u06E5}a, but that its present institutional forms, substantive content, symbolic vocabulary, and relationship to state and society - in short, its politics - are built upon foundations laid during the colonial encounter. Drawing on extensive archival work in English, Arabic, and Malay - from court records to colonia and local papers to private letters and visual material - Hussin offers a view of politics in the colonial period as an iterative series of negotiations between local and colonia powers in multiple locations. ... Combining a genealogy of law with a political analysis of its institutional dynamics, t his book offers an up-close-look at the ways in which global transformations are realized at the local level."--Back cover.

Building the Prison State

Author: Heather Schoenfeld
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
ISBN: 022652101X
Format: PDF, Kindle
Download Now
The United States incarcerates more people per capita than any other industrialized nation in the world—about 1 in 100 adults, or more than 2 million people—while national spending on prisons has catapulted 400 percent. Given the vast racial disparities in incarceration, the prison system also reinforces race and class divisions. How and why did we become the world’s leading jailer? And what can we, as a society, do about it? Reframing the story of mass incarceration, Heather Schoenfeld illustrates how the unfinished task of full equality for African Americans led to a series of policy choices that expanded the government’s power to punish, even as they were designed to protect individuals from arbitrary state violence. Examining civil rights protests, prison condition lawsuits, sentencing reforms, the War on Drugs, and the rise of conservative Tea Party politics, Schoenfeld explains why politicians veered from skepticism of prisons to an embrace of incarceration as the appropriate response to crime. To reduce the number of people behind bars, Schoenfeld argues that we must transform the political incentives for imprisonment and develop a new ideological basis for punishment.

Policing Immigrants

Author: Doris Marie Provine
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
ISBN: 022636321X
Format: PDF, Mobi
Download Now
The United States deported nearly two million illegal immigrants during the first five years of the Obama presidency—more than during any previous administration. President Obama stands accused by activists of being “deporter in chief.” Yet despite efforts to rebuild what many see as a broken system, the president has not yet been able to convince Congress to pass new immigration legislation, and his record remains rooted in a political landscape that was created long before his election. Deportation numbers have actually been on the rise since 1996, when two federal statutes sought to delegate a portion of the responsibilities for immigration enforcement to local authorities. Policing Immigrants traces the transition of immigration enforcement from a traditionally federal power exercised primarily near the US borders to a patchwork system of local policing that extends throughout the country’s interior. Since federal authorities set local law enforcement to the task of bringing suspected illegal immigrants to the federal government’s attention, local responses have varied. While some localities have resisted the work, others have aggressively sought out unauthorized immigrants, often seeking to further their own objectives by putting their own stamp on immigration policing. Tellingly, how a community responds can best be predicted not by conditions like crime rates or the state of the local economy but rather by the level of conservatism among local voters. What has resulted, the authors argue, is a system that is neither just nor effective—one that threatens the core crime-fighting mission of policing by promoting racial profiling, creating fear in immigrant communities, and undermining the critical community-based function of local policing.

Pulled Over

Author: Charles R. Epp
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
ISBN: 022611404X
Format: PDF, ePub, Docs
Download Now
In sheer numbers, no form of government control comes close to the police stop. Each year, twelve percent of drivers in the United States are stopped by the police, and the figure is almost double among racial minorities. Police stops are among the most recognizable and frequently criticized incidences of racial profiling, but, while numerous studies have shown that minorities are pulled over at higher rates, none have examined how police stops have come to be both encouraged and institutionalized. Pulled Over deftly traces the strange history of the investigatory police stop, from its discredited beginning as “aggressive patrolling” to its current status as accepted institutional practice. Drawing on the richest study of police stops to date, the authors show that who is stopped and how they are treated convey powerful messages about citizenship and racial disparity in the United States. For African Americans, for instance, the experience of investigatory stops erodes the perceived legitimacy of police stops and of the police generally, leading to decreased trust in the police and less willingness to solicit police assistance or to self-censor in terms of clothing or where they drive. This holds true even when police are courteous and respectful throughout the encounters and follow seemingly colorblind institutional protocols. With a growing push in recent years to use local police in immigration efforts, Hispanics stand poised to share African Americans’ long experience of investigative stops. In a country that celebrates democracy and racial equality, investigatory stops have a profound and deleterious effect on African American and other minority communities that merits serious reconsideration. Pulled Over offers practical recommendations on how reforms can protect the rights of citizens and still effectively combat crime.

Mambo Montage

Author: Agustín Laó-Montes
Publisher: Columbia University Press
ISBN: 0231505442
Format: PDF, ePub, Docs
Download Now
New York is the capital of mambo and a global factory of latinidad. This book covers the topic in all its multifaceted aspects, from Jim Crow baseball in the first half of the twentieth century to hip hop and ethno-racial politics, from Latinas and labor unions to advertising and Latino culture, from Cuban cuisine to the language of signs in New York City. Together the articles map out the main conceptions of Latino identity as well as the historical process of Latinization of New York. Mambo Montage is both a way of imagining latinidad and an angle of vision on the city.

Rules and Processes

Author: John L. Comaroff
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
ISBN: 9780226114255
Format: PDF, ePub
Download Now
Rules and Processes is at once a compelling essay in social theory and a pathbreaking ethnography of dispute in an African society. On the basis of a sensitive study of the Tswana of southern Africa, John Comaroff and Simon Roberts challenge most of the orthodoxies of legal anthropology. They argue that the social world, and the dispute processes that occur within it, are given form and meaning by a dialectical relationship between sociocultural structures and individual experience. The authors explore in a novel way the relations between culture and ideology, system and practice, social action and human intention. They develop a model that lays bare the form and content of "legal" and "political" discourse in all its variations—a model that accounts for the outcome of conflict processes and explains why the Tswana, like people in other cultures, conceive of their world in an apparently contradictory manner—as rule-governed yet inherently open to pragmatic individualism; orderly yet inherently fluid and shifting. Rules and Processes offers a fresh and persuasive approach to our understanding of the dialectics of social life. "A work of impressive scholarship in which theoretical sophistication and ethnographic richness are convincingly matched."—Ian Hamnett, Times Higher Education Supplement.

Human Rights and Gender Violence

Author: Sally Engle Merry
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
ISBN: 9780226520759
Format: PDF
Download Now
Human rights law and the legal protection of women from violence are still fairly new concepts. As a result, substantial discrepancies exist between what is decided in the halls of the United Nations and what women experience on a daily basis in their communities. Human Rights and Gender Violence is an ambitious study that investigates the tensions between global law and local justice. As an observer of UN diplomatic negotiations as well as the workings of grassroots feminist organizations in several countries, Sally Engle Merry offers an insider's perspective on how human rights law holds authorities accountable for the protection of citizens even while reinforcing and expanding state power. Providing legal and anthropological perspectives, Merry contends that human rights law must be framed in local terms to be accepted and effective in altering existing social hierarchies. Gender violence in particular, she argues, is rooted in deep cultural and religious beliefs, so change is often vehemently resisted by the communities perpetrating the acts of aggression. A much-needed exploration of how local cultures appropriate and enact international human rights law, this book will be of enormous value to students of gender studies and anthropology alike.

Rules Versus Relationships

Author: John M. Conley
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
ISBN: 9780226114910
Format: PDF, Kindle
Download Now
In Rules versus Relationships, John M. Conley and William M. O'Barr examine the experiences of litigants seeking redress of everyday difficulties through the small claims courts of the American legal system. The authors find two major and contrasting ways in which litigants formulate and express their problems in terms of specific rule violations and seek concrete legal remedies that would mend soured relationships and respond to their personal and social needs.

Harmony Ideology

Author: Laura Nader
Publisher: Stanford University Press
ISBN: 9780804718103
Format: PDF, Kindle
Download Now
The Zapotec observe that 'a bad compromise is better than a good fight'. Why? This study of the legal system of the Zapotec village of Talea suggests that compromise and, more generally, harmony are strategies used by colonized groups to protect themselves from encroaching powerholders or strategies the colonizers use to defend themselves against organized subordinates. Harmony models are present, despite great organizational and cultural differences, in many parts of the world. However, the basic components of harmony ideology are the same everywhere: an emphasis on conciliation, recognition that resolution of conflict is inherently good and that its reverse - continued conflict or controversy - is bad, a view of harmonious behaviour as more civilized than disputing behaviour, the belief that consensus is of greater survival value than controversy. The book's central thesis is that harmony ideology in Talea today is both a product of nearly 500 years of colonial encounter and a strategy for resisting the state's political and cultural hegemony.