The Common Place of Law: Stories from Everyday Life

Overview

Why do some people not hesitate to call the police to quiet a barking dog in the middle of the night, while others accept the pain and losses associated with defective products, unsuccesful surgery, and discrimination? Patricia Ewick and Susan Silbey collected accounts of the law from more than four hundred people of diverse backgrounds in order to explore the different ways that people use and experience it. Their fascinating and original study identifies three common ...

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Overview

Why do some people not hesitate to call the police to quiet a barking dog in the middle of the night, while others accept the pain and losses associated with defective products, unsuccesful surgery, and discrimination? Patricia Ewick and Susan Silbey collected accounts of the law from more than four hundred people of diverse backgrounds in order to explore the different ways that people use and experience it. Their fascinating and original study identifies three common narratives of law that are captured in the stories people tell.

One narrative is based on an idea of the law as magisterial and remote. Another views the law as a game with rules that can be manipulated to one's advantage. A third narrative describes the law as an arbitrary power that is actively resisted. Drawing on these extensive case studies, Ewick and Silbey present individual experiences interwoven with an analysis that charts a coherent and compelling theory of legality. A groundbreaking study of law and narrative, The Common Place of Law depicts the institution as it is lived: strange and familiar, imperfect and ordinary, and at the center of daily life.

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What People Are Saying

Martha Minow
"The Common Place of Law will become a classic in socio-legal studies because it is as perceptive and subtle in its treatment of method as in its findings and insights of substance. Social scientists, scholars of literature, citizens interested in public affairs, civil rights advocates, and students will find this book fascinating and important." -- Harvard Law School
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780226227443
  • Publisher: University of Chicago Press
  • Publication date: 7/28/1998
  • Series: Chicago Series in Law and Society Series
  • Edition description: 1
  • Pages: 336
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Table of Contents

Preface
Pt. 1: Introduction
1: Millie Simpson
2: The Common Place of Law
3: The Social Construction of Legality
Pt. 2: Stories of Legal Consciousness: Constructing Legality
4: Before the Law
Rita Michaels
Dwayne Franklin
Standing before the Law
5: With the Law
Charles Reed
Nikos Stavros
Playing with the Law
6: Against the Law
Bess Sherman
Jamie Leeson
Up against the Law
Pt. 3: Conclusions
7: Mystery and Resolution: Reconciling the Irreconcilable
8: Consciousness and Contradiction
App. A: Research Strategies and Methods
App. B: Who's Who in the Text
Notes
References
Index

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