Working Law: Courts, Corporations, and Symbolic Civil Rights - Chicago Series in Law and Society (Paperback)
  • Working Law: Courts, Corporations, and Symbolic Civil Rights - Chicago Series in Law and Society (Paperback)
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Working Law: Courts, Corporations, and Symbolic Civil Rights - Chicago Series in Law and Society (Paperback)

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Paperback 312 Pages / Published: 24/01/2017
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Since the passage of the Civil Rights Act, virtually all companies have antidiscrimination policies in place. Although these policies represent some progress, women and minorities remain underrepresented within the workplace as a whole and even more so when you look at high-level positions. They also tend to be less well paid. How is it that discrimination remains so prevalent in the American workplace despite the widespread adoption of policies designed to prevent it? One reason for the limited success of antidiscrimination policies, argues Lauren B. Edelman, is that the law regulating companies is broad and ambiguous, and managers therefore play a critical role in shaping what it means in daily practice. Often, what results are policies and procedures that are largely symbolic and fail to dispel long-standing patterns of discrimination. Even more troubling, these meanings of the law that evolve within companies tend to eventually make their way back into the legal domain, inconspicuously influencing lawyers for both plaintiffs and defendants and even judges. When courts look to the presence of antidiscrimination policies and personnel manuals to infer fair practices and to the presence of diversity training programs without examining whether these policies are effective in combating discrimination and achieving racial and gender diversity, they wind up condoning practices that deviate considerably from the legal ideals.

Publisher: The University of Chicago Press
ISBN: 9780226400761
Number of pages: 312
Weight: 454 g
Dimensions: 229 x 152 x 20 mm


MEDIA REVIEWS
"With this lone comprehensive and empirically supported critique of our national celebration of civil rights, Edelman argues persuasively that we live not in a post-civil rights society--as many have claimed--but a 'symbolic civil rights society, ' an age committed to the trappings of civil rights but little more. Working Law is a distinct, original, and important interpretation of the long-term trajectory of civil rights policy. While most view civil rights policy as a mix of some meaningful implementation and much resistance to it, Edelman makes the striking case that much of the path of change is driven by one force: the interests of major organizational employers and, specifically, the strategies of their managers to inoculate employment practices from challenge. It's hard to overstate the significance of this work."--Charles R. Epp, author of Pulled Over: How Police Stops Define Race and Citizenship
"Working Law brings together and extends substantially thirty years of meticulous research to offer a powerful explanation for how and why equality-promoting civil rights legislation may accomplish little. A comprehensive, definitive statement of the mechanisms of 'legal endogeneity' theory, it is foundational--a must read and clarion call to scholars, policymakers, judges, and civil rights advocates."--Robin S. Stryker, University of Arizona
"A brilliant, theoretically rich, and empirically grounded account of how law shapes and is shaped by the organizational context in which it is applied, Working Law challenges some of our most deeply held assumptions about the causes of and solutions to race and gender inequality in the contemporary workplace."--Devon Carbado, University of California, Los Angeles, author of Acting White? Rethinking Race in "Post-Racial" America
"Edelman's Working Law is simply superb. It breaks through the barriers that too often separate the work of the academy from the lived experience of lawyers and judges. On a personal note, it provides a thoughtful answer to the phenomenon I observed when I was on the bench--why employment law was singularly ineffective in addressing modern discrimination, why courts were satisfied with token compliance with organizational antidiscrimination programs and policies, ignoring the real face of discrimination. It is not often that a scholarly book creates an 'aha' moment for a legal practitioner, especially a former judge. This is surely one of them. It should be part of every judge's training, and on every employment law professor's reading list."--Nancy Gertner, former United States District Judge for the District of Massachusetts
"Why, after more than half a century since the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, do we continue to observe racial and gender discrimination in the workplace? This is the central question in Edelman's Working Law: Courts, Corporations, and Symbolic Civil Rights . . . [The book] makes for a solid addition to just about everyone's bookshelf."--Law and Politics Book Review

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