The Importance of Doing Nothing: Everyday Problems and Responses of Inaction

Rebecca L Sandefur

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

Abstract

In the United States, among the most common responses to justiciable problems – non-trivial problems that raise civil legal issues – is to do nothing. The probability of taking no action varies inversely with income, with poor households least likely to take any action to attempt to resolve problems. In focus groups comprised of low- and low-moderate income residents of a Midwestern American city, respondents were asked to discuss experiences of justiciable problems involving money or housing, including problems about which they did nothing. Five rationales for inaction emerged: shame, a sense of insufficient power, fear, gratitude, and frustrated resignation. Three themes – fear, gratitude and frustrated resignation – reflected lessons from people’s past experiences with justiciable problems. These themes suggest new, richer explanations for socio-economic differences in how such problems are handled.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationTransforming Lives
Subtitle of host publicationLaw and Social Process
EditorsPascoe Pleasence, Alexy Buck, Nigel J Balmer
PublisherLegal Services Commission
Pages112-132
ISBN (Print)9780117021464
StatePublished - 2007

Fingerprint

resignation
anxiety
shame
experience
money
low income
housing
resident
income
economics
Group

Cite this

Sandefur, R. L. (2007). The Importance of Doing Nothing: Everyday Problems and Responses of Inaction. In P. Pleasence, A. Buck, & N. J. Balmer (Eds.), Transforming Lives: Law and Social Process (pp. 112-132). Legal Services Commission.

The Importance of Doing Nothing : Everyday Problems and Responses of Inaction. / Sandefur, Rebecca L.

Transforming Lives: Law and Social Process. ed. / Pascoe Pleasence; Alexy Buck; Nigel J Balmer. Legal Services Commission, 2007. p. 112-132.

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

Sandefur, RL 2007, The Importance of Doing Nothing: Everyday Problems and Responses of Inaction. in P Pleasence, A Buck & NJ Balmer (eds), Transforming Lives: Law and Social Process. Legal Services Commission, pp. 112-132.
Sandefur RL. The Importance of Doing Nothing: Everyday Problems and Responses of Inaction. In Pleasence P, Buck A, Balmer NJ, editors, Transforming Lives: Law and Social Process. Legal Services Commission. 2007. p. 112-132
Sandefur, Rebecca L. / The Importance of Doing Nothing : Everyday Problems and Responses of Inaction. Transforming Lives: Law and Social Process. editor / Pascoe Pleasence ; Alexy Buck ; Nigel J Balmer. Legal Services Commission, 2007. pp. 112-132
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