Introduction: A Constitutive Perspective of Rights

Benjamin Fleury-Steiner, Laura Beth Nielsen, Catherine R. Albiston, Hadar Aviram, Frank Rudy Cooper, Kaaryn Gustafson, Jessica Hodge, Elizabeth A. Hoffmann, Idit Kostiner, Anna Maria Marshall, Jérôme Pelisse, Kimberly D. Richman, Judith Taylor

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingForeword/postscript


In the US, civil rights are constitutional or statutory guarantees of various protections from unfavorable or harmful treatment by private individuals or state actors. The “litigious policy” model of civil rights enforcement in the US centers on the identification of a specific problem. Scholars of law and society, law and public policy, and the sociology of law study the relationship between social problems, law, and outcomes to attempt to understand how effective law is with regard to creating the desired outcomes. The questions begged by the “crude model” of law as a catalyst for social change exclude a variety of crucial elements for understanding the role of law in producing social change. Understanding how competing discourses shape legal consciousness is important for understanding both the dynamic of social change and possible sources of resistance to social change. The chapter also presents an overview of the key concepts discussed in this book.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationThe New Civil Rights Research
Subtitle of host publicationA Constitutive Approach
EditorsLaura Beth Nielsen
PublisherTaylor and Francis
Number of pages14
ISBN (Electronic)9780429595325
ISBN (Print)9780815398028
StatePublished - Jan 1 2019

Publication series

NameRoutledge Revivals

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Social Sciences


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