American Sociological Association

1st Annual Meeting Pre-conference Workshop

1st Annual Meeting Pre-conference Workshop


Call for Papers: Law, Culture, and Inclusion/Exclusion.

American Sociological Association Section on the Sociology of Law

First Annual Meeting Pre-conference Workshop.

Submission deadline: April 30, 2017

We invite submissions of papers for the first ASA Section on the Sociology of Law pre-conference workshop, to be held at McGill University’s Faculty of Law in Montréal, Quebec, Canada on August 11, 2017.  This is a one-day conference designed to provide intensive engagement with participants’ research at the intersection of law and culture.

Researchers are welcome to submit the same paper to this mini-conference that they submitted to the ASA annual meeting. But papers that are accepted to an ASA panel session will not be included in this mini-conference. (Papers accepted to ASA roundtables will be included here.)  Participants are asked to attend the full day.

The organizers of the pre-conference invite sociologists to consider the law-related dimensions of the broader ASA theme. In particular, we invite papers examining the cultural role, processes elements of, and politics of law or the legal elements of culture that result in exclusion and inclusion. Our conception of law is broad, including hard or soft law, legal and quasi-legal institutions, and legal consciousness.

Relevant topics include but are not limited to:

1.      How cultural processes in the law (legal boundary- making, language, and narrative) shapes the production and maintenance of social inequality.

Examples: How do people understand and access the benefits associated with legal definitions of citizen, immigrant, family, and employee? How do stories deployed in legal doctrine, argumentation, and lawyer-client interactions lead to inclusion or exclusion? How do people submit or resist legal categories in their attempts to secure benefits inside and outside of formal legal institutions?

2.      How law and legal processes shape cultural repertoires of contention over inequality, marginalization, and institutional power.

Examples: How does the language of international treaties and international organizations become adopted by and adapted by those engaged in local resource struggles? How do people incorporate symbols, ideas and stories from legislative conflicts and litigation into extra-legal struggles? How do popular understandings of the law influence the stories told and strategies pursued (and those foregone) in power struggles, whether or not they specifically target formal legal institutions?

3.      How cultural media represent legal inclusion and exclusion. 

Examples: How do legal dramas represent inequality of access to legal representation, patterns of winning and losing in court? How do representations of police brutality in crime dramas, mass news media, and social media compare; why and what are the impacts for public opinion and mobilization for change? In the wake of the Trump election, what stories about threats of deportation (and other enforcement of immigration law) have been shared, with whom, and to what effect?

Please submit complete papers with an abstract and no longer than 20 pages to Joe Conti at by April 30, 2017.  

Light breakfast and lunch will be served.  Conference participants and attendees will be asked to contribute a participation fee of $30 for faculty and $15 for students. Funding to defray costs of travel and lodging will be awarded on a lottery basis for interested graduate students and term faculty participants. Indicate your interest in being considered with your submission. Announcements about travel awards will be made after papers are accepted.

This conference is sponsored in part by the Faculty of Law, McGill University.


Faculty of Law, McGill University

Chancellor Day Hall

3644 Peel Street

Montréal, Québec