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The law appears neutral most of the time (2).docx

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Zachary Levinsky

Death of the Profane & Sarat • The law appears neutral most of the time. • The law is a tool of oppression o The law isn’t always just or fair • The law is a way to strip things of their context o Away to silence particular things • Society isn’t just shaped by the law, society can shape the law as well. • Silences in the Reena Virk case • How the law tries to deal with wrongs o What do you do when you have a wrongfully convicted • The idea of legal realism (Sarat) o The law on the books vs. the law on action o For example: potlatch law: the law by just reading it seems oppressive. However it was more than just an oppressive tool. • The law is everywhere. Isn’t always an oppressive thing but rather a part of everyday social relations Patricia Williams: The Death of the Profane • She is shopping • If you want to get into the store you had to press a buzzer for someone to let you in • The store clerk did not let her in • The store owner said they were closed and she wasn’t allowed in • She tried to tell her story and editors took her story away from her. o They edited a lot of things out of it. o Did not let them to state her race • The buzzer is a neutral everyday device but we see how it gets used in a different way o Maintains a particular status quo • See how these neutral things, can hold a lot of other underlying meanings • The buzzer system put up an elite system o Class struggle in terms of not letting her in because of her class and race. • Her story still got distorted by academia o She suggests scholarship doesn’t need to look in a particular way • Racism is justified by other means o “If we put ourselves in their shoes we wouldn’t have let you in either” • The person who writes the newspaper article about what Patricia said is going to have more weight than what Patricia said, because the author essentially knows more. • Newspaper recollections are more important than oral evidence. • The profane really means “the everyday” o Patricia is trying to bring us the everyday but the everyday doesn’t matter to scholarship or is less emphasized • The deviant one off cases are stripping context. • If we all police brutality as a product of “bad apples” it is not a represented of culture • Relate to Loo and Spectacular Justice Sarat: • Sarat is trying to figure out what it means to do law and society research • It is not clear what law and society should be doing • We can let lawyer define what the law means • How can the law be rendered scientific (Galanter’s) • Legal Realism movement: the gap between law in the books and the law in action o The law then become highly professionalized o As the law becomes professionalized in the 40’s and 50’s • IN the 60’s there becomes civil rights movements and feminist movements • How does the law perpetuate injustices. • The idea of law and society is not pinned down o Because the law itself is constantly changing therefore we cant really pin down what research on law and society does • Law and society constitute each other o Generally interested in studying the law and how it is loosely related to society o The law influences identities o The law is constituted by the norms and values and by social relationships, cultural change o
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