*Law and Social Movements (21762). 3 units. Historical and sociological studies of social movements identify the central importance of compelling narratives that come to frame a public deliberative process, which ultimately influences the making and interpretation of law. The study of social movements often begins with the movement for black civil rights and parallel developments among Latinos, American Indians and Asian Americans. Yet the study of durable legal change necessarily includes a close study of the feminist movement, the labor movement, the human rights movement, the right-to-life movement, the LGBT movement as well as the conservative movements for economic freedom and property rights and modern federalism.
In this view, a key role of social movements is to frame a story and to keep it in popular circulation in order to confront, incorporate and transform received understandings. When social movements are successful, a new public narrative emerges. Part of this story is written in the law. Lawmaking becomes a way to institutionalize changes in background understandings and embrace particular public meanings and norms.
We shall assess this interactive narrative frame as a point of departure for investigating specific advocacy strategies employed by lawyers. One of our goals is to examine the challenges and dilemmas lawyers face in helping social movements successfully organize around a counter-story and yet avoid becoming the movement's primary storytellers. Another goal is to understand the recursive relationship between social movements, litigation, legislation, and administrative agency policy making and enforcement. We shall also explore the extent to which successful social movements are not simply about negotiation of interests within an agreed upon normative and political framework, but generate new normative frameworks (related to values, new forms of identity, new institutions) and aspire to alter the relations of power in a democracy.
Students will work in teams to develop and present a case study to the class on a particular movement. Rather than an exam, the course will conclude with a short paper that explores in greater depth one of the case studies we have considered. Paper required. Enrollment will be capped at thirty. G. Torres.