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Cover image of The Civil Rights Society
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The Civil Rights Society

The Social Construction of Victims

Kristin Bumiller

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In a provocative examination of the role of law in promoting social change, Kristin Bumiller contents that one effect of antidiscrimination laws has been to perpetuate the victimization of the people they were intended to benefit. Probing the role of legal ideology in "the social construction of everyday life," The Civil Rights Society describes the ways in which the social identity of victims constrains their choices and reinforces their sense of powerlessness.

Whereas previous analyses have documented the ineffectiveness of antidiscrimination measures, Bumiller focuses on the impact of...

In a provocative examination of the role of law in promoting social change, Kristin Bumiller contents that one effect of antidiscrimination laws has been to perpetuate the victimization of the people they were intended to benefit. Probing the role of legal ideology in "the social construction of everyday life," The Civil Rights Society describes the ways in which the social identity of victims constrains their choices and reinforces their sense of powerlessness.

Whereas previous analyses have documented the ineffectiveness of antidiscrimination measures, Bumiller focuses on the impact of unrelistic expectations about law on people's lives. Grounded in a wide reading of social theory and supported with interview data, The Civil Rights Society reveals an important dimension of the failure of legal action to address many of the most persistent forms of racial and sexual oppression.

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Reviews

Valuable... Bumiller suggests that civil rights legislation may paradoxically exacerbate discrimination by rendering continuing perceptions of inequality less legitimate in the eyes of the 'victims.'.

Bumiller is among several scholars who have questioned the excessive reliance on law, especially constitutional law and the Supreme Court, as a means of solving social problems in the United States. The book will generate much discussion among those scholars interested in critical legal studies, sociology of law, race and gender relations, the social psychology of victimization, and social stratification.

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Book Details

Publication Date
Status
Available
Trim Size
6
x
9
Pages
172
ISBN
9780801845109
Table of Contents

Preface to paperback edition
Acknowledgements
Chapter 1. The Model of Legal Protection
Chapter 2. Law and Ideology
Chapter 3. The Historical Roots of Antidiscrimination Ideology
Chapter 4. The

Preface to paperback edition
Acknowledgements
Chapter 1. The Model of Legal Protection
Chapter 2. Law and Ideology
Chapter 3. The Historical Roots of Antidiscrimination Ideology
Chapter 4. The Ideology of the Victim
Chapter 5. The Ethic of Survival
Chapter 6. Legality Enters Life
Chapter 7. Conclusion: Voices Excluded from the Law
Appendix A. List of Interviewees
Appendix B. Interview Schedule
Notes
Bibliography
Index

Author Bio