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Getting justice and getting even: legal consciousness among working-class Americans

Getting justice and getting even: legal consciousness among working-class Americans

Law of America > Law of the United States > Federal law. Common and collective state law Individual states > Jurisprudence and philosophy of American law. General doctrines of American legal institutions > General works > Casebooks. Readings

Edition Details

  • Creator or Attribution (Responsibility): Sally Engle Merry
  • Biografical Information: Sally Engle Merry is professor of anthropology at Wellesley College.
  • Language: English
  • Jurisdiction(s): Illinois
  • Publication Information: Chicago : University of Chicago Press, ©1990
  • Publication Type (Medium): Trials, litigation, etc, Cases
  • Material: Government publication, State or province government publication, Internet resource
  • Type: Book, Internet Resource
  • Series title: Language and legal discourse.
  • Permalink: http://books.lawi.us/getting-justice-and-getting-even-legal-consciousness-among-working-class-americans/ (Stable identifier)

Short Description

X, 227 pages ; 24 cm.

Purpose and Intended Audience

Useful for students learning an area of law, Getting justice and getting even: legal consciousness among working-class Americans is also useful for lawyers seeking to apply the law to issues arising in practice.

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Bibliographic information

  • Responsable Person: Sally Engle Merry.
  • Publication Date: 1990
  • Copyright Date: 1990
  • Location: Chicago, Ill.
  • Country/State: Illinois
  • Number of Editions: 8 editions
  • First edition Date: 1990
  • Last edition Date: 1995
  • Languages: US English
  • Library of Congress Code: KF379
  • Dewey Code: 349.73
  • ISBN: 0226520684 9780226520681 0226520692 9780226520698
  • OCLC: 20629342

Publisher Description:

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.

Main Contents

Introduction
The setting: two New England towns and their lower courts
Legal consciousness and types of problems
The social context of problems
Problems and cases
The discourses of the lower court
Legal experience and legal consciousness
Conclusions: The paradox of legal entitlement.

Table of Contents

Preface
1. Introduction
2. The Setting: Two New England Towns and Their Lower Courts
3. Legal Consciousness and Types of Problems
4. The Social Context of Problems
5. Problems and Cases
6. The Discourses of the Lower Court
7. Legal Experience and Legal Consciousness
8. Conclusions: The Paradox of Legal Entitlement
Appendix
Notes
References
Index

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Unstructured Subjects (Headings):



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  • Article Name: Getting justice and getting even: legal consciousness among working-class Americans
  • Author: Laurence Clarke
  • Description: Getting justice and getting even: legal consciousness among working-class Americans Law of America > Law of the United [...]

This entry was last updated: June 1, 2016

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