Document Type

Article

Comments

“Law and (Norms of) Order in the Inner City” (with Dan Kahan) 32 Law and Society Review 805 (1998)

Abstract

This article surveys recent works that seek to enrich criminal law policy analysis by incorporating social norms. The article does not purport to adduce the "true" or even the "best" definition of "social norms"; rather it breaks that term down into a cluster of related concepts that are frequently subsumed within it, including "social organization," "social meaning," and "social influence." The motivation for grouping these concepts together, moreover, is as much political as conceptual. Using a pragmatic standard of assessment, the article uses the social norms literature to identify a host of politically feasible law enforcement policies—from curfews to gang-loitering laws to order-maintenance policing to reverse stings—that deter as well or better than severe prison sentences but that avoid the destructive effect of those sentences on inner-city communities.

Date of Authorship for this Version

1998

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