Conceptualizing Legal Mobilization: How Should We Understand the Deployment of Legal Strategies? – Law & Social Inquiry – article

Conceptualizing Legal Mobilization: How Should We Understand the Deployment of Legal Strategies?

Emilio Lehoucq, Whitney K. Taylor | Law & Social Inquiry

2019-11-03

Social movements have increasingly incorporated legal strategies into their repertoires of contention. Yet, both sociolegal and social movement scholarship lack a systematic and theoretically coherent way to conceptualize legal mobilization. In fact, scholars disagree (sometimes in fundamental ways) about what constitutes legal mobilization, which has resulted in conceptual slippage around how the term is used. This article proposes a more self-conscious approach that will facilitate the aggregation of findings across studies. To do so, it sets forth a systematic conceptualization of legal mobilization and situates it within a typology of uses of the law. It also contextualizes the typology with respect to emerging literatures within social movement and sociolegal scholarship and proposes areas for further research that would benefit from a more rigorous conceptualization of legal mobilization.

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