Civil Justice and Local Organizations
Monday, Jan 24, 2022 | 12:45 pm - 2:00 pm
VIRTUAL - Zoom Webinar
CSLS Speaker Series
“Civil Justice and Local Organizations”
with JAMILA MICHENER, Associate Professor of Government, Cornell University
Non-legal grassroots organizations often engage civil legal processes. Some grassroots organizations draw on courts, lawyers, and legal problems as a basis for mobilizing and power building. They work with people in racially and economically marginalized communities to identify problems with legal institutions, make those problems salient and advocate for solutions. In these and other ways, local organizations can shape the contours of civil justice. Drawing on in-depth qualitative research (participant observation and in-depth interviews) and focusing on housing as a policy domain, this talk explores two interrelated questions. First, how do (non-legal) local organizations (e.g., tenant unions, housing organizations, etc.) understand their relationship(s) to processes of civil justice? Second, what mechanisms do grassroots organizations employ to engage civil justice institutions and actors (e.g., courts, people with legal problems, lawyers)? By looking to local institutions, this research usefully advances our understanding of an important avenue through which ordinary people within race-class subjugated communities can exercise agency within civil legal processes that are sometimes deeply disempowering.
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