Princeton University Press

The Cultural Lives of Law

Published by: Princeton University Press

Go

Browse Books in Series:

The Cultural Lives of Law

1

Results 1-3 of 3

:
Access Restricted no This search result is for a Book

Emblems of Pluralism

Cultural Differences and the State

Carol Weisbrod

From outlawing polygamy and mandating public education to protecting the rights of minorities, the framing of group life by the state has been a subject of considerable interest and controversy throughout the history of the United States. The subject continues to be important in many countries. This book deals with state responses to cultural difference through the examination of a number of encounters between individuals, groups, and the state, in the United States and elsewhere. The book opens the concepts of groups and the state, arguing for the complexity of their relations and interpenetrations.

Carol Weisbrod draws on richly diverse historical and cultural material to explore various structures that have been seen as appropriate for adjusting relations between states and internal groups. She considers the experience of the Mormons, the Amish, and Native Americans in the United States, the Mennonites in Germany, and the Jews in Russia to illustrate arrangements and accommodations in different times and places. The Minorities Treaties of the League of Nations, political federalism, religious exemptions, nonstate schools, and rules about adoption are among the mechanisms discussed that sustain cultural difference and create frameworks for group life, and, finally, individual life. At bottom, Emblems of Pluralism concerns not only relations between the state and groups, public and private, but also issues of identity and relations between the self and others.

Access Restricted no This search result is for a Book

Law's Dream of a Common Knowledge

Mariana Valverde

If knowledge is power, then the power of law can be studied through the lens of knowledge. This book opens up a substantive new area of legal research--knowledge production--and presents a series of case studies showing that the hybridity and eclecticism of legal knowledge processes make it unfruitful to ask questions such as, "Is law becoming more dominated by science?" Mariana Valverde argues that legal decision making cannot be understood if one counterposes science and technology, on the one hand, to common knowledge and common sense on the other. The case studies of law's flexible collage of knowledges range from determinations of drunkenness made by liquor licensing inspectors and by police, through police testimony in "indecency" cases, to how judges define the "truth" of sexuality and the harm that obscenity poses to communities.

Valverde emphasizes that the types of knowledge that circulate in such legal arenas consist of "facts," values, and codes from numerous incompatible sources that combine to produce interesting hybrids with wide-ranging legal and social effects. Drawing on Foucaultian and other analytical tools, she cogently demonstrates that different modes of knowledge, and hence various forms of power, coexist happily.

Law's Dream of a Common Knowledge underlines the importance of analyzing dynamically how knowledge formation works. And it helps us to better understand the workings of power and resistance in a variety of contemporary contexts. It will interest scholars and students from disciplines including law, sociology, anthropology, history, and science-and-technology studies as well as those concerned with the particular issues raised by the case studies.

Access Restricted no This search result is for a Book

License to Harass

Law, Hierarchy, and Offensive Public Speech

Laura Beth Nielsen

Offensive street speech--racist and sexist remarks that can make its targets feel both psychologically and physically threatened--is surprisingly common in our society. Many argue that this speech is so detestable that it should be banned under law. But is this an area covered by the First Amendment right to free speech? Or should it be banned?

In this elegantly written book, Laura Beth Nielsen pursues the answers by probing the legal consciousness of ordinary citizens. Using a combination of field observations and in-depth, semistructured interviews, she surveys one hundred men and women, some of whom are routine targets of offensive speech, about how such speech affects their lives. Drawing on these interviews as well as an interdisciplinary body of scholarship, Nielsen argues that racist and sexist speech creates, reproduces, and reinforces existing systems of hierarchy in public places. The law works to normalize and justify offensive public interactions, she concludes, offering, in essence, a "license to harass."

Nielsen relates the results of her interviews to statistical surveys that measure the impact of offensive speech on the public. Rather than arguing whether law is the appropriate remedy for offensive speech, she allows that the benefits to democracy, to community, and to society of allowing such speech may very well outweigh the burdens imposed. Nonetheless, these burdens, and the stories of the people who bear them, should not remain invisible and outside the debate.

1

Results 1-3 of 3

:

Return to Browse All Series on Project MUSE

Series

The Cultural Lives of Law

Content Type

  • (3)

Access

  • You have access to this content
  • Free sample
  • Open Access
  • Restricted Access