Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Morgan, Rights & Regulation: New Directions in Sociolegal Scholarship

Browen Morgan, University of Bristol, has posted the Introduction to a new collection of essays, forthcoming from Ashgate in 2007: The Intersection of Rights and Regulation: New Directions in Sociolegal Scholarship. This interdisciplinary volume includes historical essays. The abstract follows. After the abstract is the table of contents.
This paper is the introductory chapter of an edited volume of chapters by the same name, which will be published in 2007. Rights and regulation each provide a way of framing core preoccupations of sociolegal scholarship. The two are yoked more often in opposition than in concert; indeed, regulation has often been framed as a social practice that restricts rights. This resonates with a tendency to conjure up stereotypically different images of research questions and topics that typify each of these areas. ‘Rights scholarship' is concerned with mobilization, social change, questions of identity and culture, frequently taking the position of those who are disadvantaged or oppressed through judicial avenues, using claims of individualized entitlement as a point of departure. Regulation scholars are more typically concerned with questions of economic efficiency, the evaluation of results, rational design of institutions and bureaucratic or discretionary modes of pursuing generalized public interests.
But if rights and regulation tend to be associated with contrasting forms, logics, ideals and values, there are ambiguities in this opposition. It may reflect parallel scholarly dialogues, or it may be rooted in inherent formal or normative properties of rights and regulation, or it may be a consequence of particular substantive political contexts that encourage groups to frame their own practices in particular ways – whether as rights-based or regulatory. This paper challenges stable oppositions between rights and regulation on all these fronts. Its main argument is that rights and regulation form overlapping and complementary aspects of processes of disputing and rule-elaboration that can be captured by two well-known triads - ‘naming, blaming and claiming' and ‘rule-making, monitoring and enforcement'. This approach both challenges the notion of contrasting logics of rights and regulation but also opens up interesting empirically-inspired questions at their intersection. It suggests that there is a powerful, albeit varying, interdependency between rights and regulation: one that can be clarified by encouraging more work in regulatory scholarship on ‘naming, claiming and blaming', and more work in rights scholarship on ‘rule-making, monitoring and implementation'.
The paper has four parts. First, it sketches a brief intellectual history of the strands of scholarship that frame this introduction, presenting rights and regulation initially as parallel scholarly dialogues, and then viewing them through a broad lens of disputing as complementary and interdependent. Secondly, it poses a wide range of questions that focus on different aspects of the rights/regulation interface. Third is an overview of the individual chapters in the rest of the volume, which come from a variety of disciplinary approaches within law and society (law, geography, sociology, political science, history and anthropology). Finally the paper proposes three key themes that emerge cumulatively from the chapters and that suggest future research directions.
1. Bronwen Morgan, ‘The Intersection of Rights and Regulation: New Directions in Sociolegal Scholarship’
Part One: Rights and regulation: contrasting forms and logics?
2. Orly Lobel, ‘Form and Substance in Labour Market Policies’
3. Amanda Baumle, ‘Lawyers Using Rights Discourse in an Internet Community: Challenging and Redefining Gender Discrimination in the Legal Practice’
4. Tola Amodu, ‘Rights as the Seeds of Regulation in UK Land-Use Planning’
Part Two: Complementarities between rights and regulation
5. Anders Walker, ‘Taxing Prejudice: Non-Constitutional Approaches to the Problem of Minority Rights’
6. Galit Sarfaty, ‘Doing Good Business or Just Doing Good: Competing Human Rights Frameworks at the World Bank’
7. Erik Larson, ‘Regulatory Rights: Emergent Indigenous Peoples’ Rights as a Locus of Global Regulation’
Part Three: Politics and ideologies: hybrid dialectics of rights and regulation
8. Laam Hae, ‘Dancing in New York City: The Cabaret Law, Alternative Cultures and Neoliberal Urbanism’
9. Jeff Dudas, ‘Rights and Regulation in Bush’s America; or, How the New Right Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Equal Rights’
10. Sundhya Pahuja, ‘Rights as Regulation: The Integration of Development and Human Rights’