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Legal Mobilization on the Terrain of the State: Creating a Field of Immigrant Rights Lawyering in France and the United States

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Scholarship on law and social movements has focused attention primarily on the United States, and secondarily on countries that share the Anglo-American legal tradition. The politics of law and social movements in other national legal contexts remains underexamined. The analysis in this article contrasts legal mobilizations for immigrant rights in France and the United States, and explores the relations between national fields of power and legal practices. I trace the institutionalization of immigrant rights legal organizations in each country and argue that the divergent organizational forms and litigation strategies adopted by professionalized movement organizations reflect the dynamics of the nationally distinct fields of power relations within which law reform has been conducted. My analysis links the material and symbolic resources available to law reformers to the relative authority of private and public juridical actors in each state.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: March 1, 2011

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