Law & Social Movements

The National Mall in the hours leading up to Dr. Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” Speech

The Michigan Journal of Law and Society invites article submissions for its second issue on the theme of Law & Social Movements. Submissions for our second issue are due to mjls.execs@umich.edu by 11:59pm EDT on Friday, July 15. Please view our submissions page for more detail.

Social movements intersect with the law in important and complicated ways. The law can provide a vocabulary of resistance, facilitate the formation of collective identities, and provide a pathway for expanding rights. It can also constrain and influence behavior, stifle change, and hinder social mobilization. 

To facilitate dialogue at a moment when social movements continue to both engage the law and find ways to circumvent legal frameworks, the Michigan Journal of Law & Society invites article submissions that explore the various intersections between law and social-reform movements. We will not place spatial or temporal limits on article submissions. Possible topics for entries include, but are not limited to:

  • What are the benefits and risks of institutionalizing social movements?  
  • How do social movements emerge and interact through cross-border or transnational activism?
  • In what ways have the organizing tactics of social movements been transformed by various new media, from print to the internet, and how has it shaped movement strategy? 
  • What are the costs associated with using the legal system as a channel for achieving social change? How have different social movements understood, articulated, and navigated these costs/limits? 
  • How do social movements utilize, shape, or subvert legal structures? 
  • How have social movements become conversant in legal terminology in order to shape the law?
  • In the past, what tools have states utilized to suppress social-reform efforts? Are these tools different from the ones used today?
  • In what ways, if any, have movements of the right and of the left differed in their use of and interactions with the law?
  • To what extent do social-reform movements collaborate? Does intergroup interaction affect movement intersectionality and the law?

If you have any questions about our theme, please email mjls.execs@umich.edu