New Article: Wendy A. Bach, The Hyperregulatory State: Women, Race, Poverty and Support, 25 Yale J. Law & Feminism __ (2014). Abstract below:
Vulnerability and dependency theory offers a rich and promising vision for those who seek to conceptualize and build a more responsive state. In theorizing a road to a supportive state, however, what would it mean to take up the challenge of intersectionality? What would it mean to center the analysis around key aspects of the relationship between legal institutions and the poor, disproportionately women and families of color who have no choice but to avail themselves of what remains of a shredded social safety net? The Hyperregulatory State argues that, for women who have no choice but to avail themselves of the safety net (think welfare or public housing) and who by their sheer geographic exposure to the mechanisms of government systems (think over-policing of poor communities of color, public hospitals and inner city public schools) find themselves subject to government intrusion (think child welfare agencies and the criminalization of poverty) the state does not merely fail to respond to their needs. In fact, crucial interactions between poor women and the state are characterized by a phenomena here termed regulatory intersectionality, defined as the means by which state systems (in the examples herein, social welfare, child welfare and criminal justice systems) interlock to share information and heighten the adverse consequences of unlawful, deviant, or noncompliant conduct. At every juncture these punitive mechanisms are, in effect, targeted by race, class, gender and place to subordinate poor African American women, families and communities. The state is, in this sense, hyperregulatory. This article describes in detail the specific phenomena of regulatory intersectionality and contextualizes it within a larger schema of hyperregulation. Paying careful attention to regulatory intersectionality and hyperregulation would revise the theories of vulnerability and the responsive state in two crucial and related ways. First, it serves as a practical warning. If the current social safety net is so profoundly characterized by mechanisms that interlock to impose escalating punishment, the road to a supportive state that does not function in this way is likely to be long and complicated. Second, in attempting to realize the vision of the supportive or responsive state, a crucial first step is restructuring and building support systems to enhance rather than undermine the autonomy of poor women, poor families and poor communities. If we fail to center and prioritize those realities and those tasks, then this particular and crucial part of political and legal theory is again in danger of leaving behind those who are, by virtue of race, gender, class, and place, among the most vulnerable.
New Article: Charlotte Garden & Nancy Leong, “So Closely Intertwined”: Labor and Racial Solidarity, 81 Geo. Wash. L. Rev. 1135 (2013). Abstract below:
Conventional wisdom tells us that labor unions and people of color are adversaries. Commentators, academics, politicians, and employers across a broad range of ideologies view the two groups’ interests as fundamentally opposed and their relationship as predictably fraught with tension. For example, commentators assert that unions capture a wage premium that mostly benefits white workers while making it harder for workers of color to find work; that unions deprive workers of color of an effective voice in the workplace; and that unions are interested in workers of color only to the extent that they can showcase them to manufacture the appearance of racial diversity.
Like much conventional wisdom, the narrative of rivalry between unions and people of color is flawed. In reality, labor unions and civil rights groups work together to advance a wide array of mutual interests. This work ranges from lobbying all levels of government to protesting working conditions across the country. Moreover, unions can improve the lives of workers of color—whether or not they are union members—through activities that range from bargaining for better wages and working conditions to providing services like job training and continuing education to under-resourced communities.
We aim to replace the conventional wisdom with a narrative that more accurately describes the occasionally complicated but ultimately hopeful relationship between labor and race. In developing this narrative, we anchor our conclusions in an interdisciplinary literature that includes insights from legal, economic, psychological, and sociological scholarly research. This extensive body of scholarship indicates that union membership has significant benefits for workers of color in the form of higher wages and improved benefits, more racially congenial workplaces, and deeper cross-racial understanding. We complement this robust scholarly literature with real-world examples of union success at improving the well-being of workers and communities of color. In contrast to many other commentators, then, our account is largely optimistic, though we emphasize that there is still work for the labor movement to do.
New Book: Kathryn Edin & Timothy J. Nelson, Doing the Best I Can: Fatherhood in the Inner City (2013). Amazon link here. Overview below:
Across the political spectrum, unwed fatherhood is denounced as one of the leading social problems of today. Doing the Best I Can is a strikingly rich, paradigm-shifting look at fatherhood among inner-city men often dismissed as “deadbeat dads.” Kathryn Edin and Timothy J. Nelson examine how couples in challenging straits come together and get pregnant so quickly—without planning. The authors chronicle the high hopes for forging lasting family bonds that pregnancy inspires, and pinpoint the fatal flaws that often lead to the relationship’s demise. They offer keen insight into a radical redefinition of family life where the father-child bond is central and parental ties are peripheral.
Drawing on years of fieldwork, Doing the Best I Can shows how mammoth economic and cultural changes have transformed the meaning of fatherhood among the urban poor. Intimate interviews with more than 100 fathers make real the significant obstacles faced by low-income men at every step in the familial process: from the difficulties of romantic relationships, to decision-making dilemmas at conception, to the often celebratory moment of birth, and finally to the hardships that accompany the early years of the child’s life, and beyond.
New Article: Thomas W. Mitchell, Growing Inequality and Racial Economic Gaps, 56 How. L.J. 849 (2013). Available here (you have to scroll through the issue to get to this article).
New Article: Rachel D. Godsil, The Gentrification Trigger: Autonomy, Mobility, and Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing, 78 Brooklyn L. Rev. 319 (2013). Abstract below:
Gentrification connotes a process where often white “outsiders” move into areas in which once attractive properties have deteriorated due to disinvestment. Gentrification creates seemingly positive outcomes, including increases in property values, equity, and a city’s tax base, as well as greater residential racial and economic integration; yet it is typically accompanied by significant opposition. In-place residents fear that they will either be displaced or even if they remain the newcomers will change the culture and practices of the neighborhood. Gentrification then is understood to cause a loss of community and autonomy – losses that have been well recognized in the eminent domain literature.
This article focuses on gentrifying neighborhoods that were abandoned during the government sponsored suburban migration of the 1950s through the 1980s. Racially discriminatory practices of government and private actors often denied Black and Latino families the option either to join the migration to the suburbs or to maintain their homes in city neighborhoods. This article argues that in-place residents of now gentrifying neighborhoods should have access to rental vouchers or low-interest loans to restore the autonomy they were previously denied, providing them with viable, self-determining options to remain or exit the neighborhood. Such a remedy – which is consistent with the Fair Housing Act’s obligation to HUD and its grantees to “affirmatively further fair housing” – has the potential to alter the political terrain of gentrification.
Available here — There are too many great articles to list out and the website has them all with abstracts. After the jump is the cut and paste from the Yale L.J. website. If anyone wants to write a post reviewing any of these articles, send it to me and I’ll post it. GREAT STUFF!
Photo Copyright Ezra Rosser 2013
Census Bureau Report: Suzanne Macartney et al., Poverty Rates for Selected Detailed Race and Hispanic Groups by State and Place: 2007–2011, American Community Survey Briefs (Feb. 2013).
Self-Promoting Post, My Article is Published =) : Ezra Rosser, The Ambition and Transformative Potential of Progressive Property, 101 California L. Rev. 107 (2013). Link to PDF. Abstract below:
The emerging progressive property school celebrates and finds its meaning in the social nature of property. Rejecting the idea that exclusion lies at the core of property law, progressive property scholars call for a reconsideration of the relationships owners and nonowners have with property and with each other. Despite these ambitions, progressive property scholarship has so far largely confined itself to questions of exclusion and access. This Essay argues that such an emphasis glosses over race-related acquisition and distribution problems that pervade American history and property law. The modest structural changes supported by progressive property scholars fail to account for this racial history and, by so doing, present a limited vision of the changes to property law that progressive scholars should support. Though sympathetic with the political and scholarly orientation of the progressive property school, and with its policy arguments regarding exclusion and access, I argue that the first priority of any transformative project of progressive property must be revisiting acquisition and distribution.
Let me add that the editors were amazing to work with and I sincerely appreciate both their interest in the article and their innumerable great suggestions!