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The Legal Transformation of Political Movements Sociology 641 Political Movements Definition: A collectively-organized effort, by large numbers of participants, to change existing social structures and establish a new ordering of social life. A.K.A: “Social Movement”

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political movements
Political Movements
  • Definition: A collectively-organized effort, by large numbers of participants, to change existing social structures and establish a new ordering of social life.
  • A.K.A: “Social Movement”
  • Political Movements are complex streams of events that often change as they unfold.
  • Institutional contexts may shape movement trajectories and outcomes.
questions for sociology of law
Questions for Sociology of Law
  • What kinds of impacts does the law have on political movements?
  • What are the implications for a political movement of choosing to pursue a legal strategy?
relationships between law and political movements
Relationships between Law and Political Movements
  • Law as an Outcome of Politics
  • Law as a Tool of Politics
  • Law as an Arena of Politics
  • Law as Constitutive of Politics.
law as an outcome of politics
Law as an Outcome of Politics
  • Many political movements are, in part, efforts to change the law
  • Law as dependent variable
  • But seeking legal outcomes can affect movement development
    • Influence of lawyers
    • Emphasis on rights
    • Focus on the state
law as a tool of politics
Law as a Tool of Politics
  • Defensive: to lock-in a victory
    • Constituency-building
    • Taken-for-grantedness
  • Offensive: to build a coalition
    • Legal endorsement
    • Moral allies
law as an arena of politics
Law as an Arena of Politics
  • Agenda-setting
    • Access
    • Framing
  • The megaphone metaphor revisited
    • A megaphone with “reverb”
law as constitutive of politics
Law as Constitutive of Politics
  • Politics reflects …
    • Identities and allegiances
    • Interests and values
    • Capacities for political action
  • These may not be purely exogenous to legal institutions
summary
Summary
  • Law as an outcomes/objective

 Influence of lawyers

    • Emphasis on rights
    • Focus on the state
  • Law as a tool
    • Constituencies and commitments
  • Law as an arena
    • Narrowing, refocusing and individualizing grievances
    • Gradualism, incrementalism
  • Law as constitutive
    • Group identities
    • Political interests
    • Action capacities