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Enforcing Civility and Respect: Three Societies, 109 Yale L.J. 1279 (2000)


It has become common, over the last decade or so, to plead for more "civility" and "respect" in American daily life. Some of this has come from politicians. Mayor Giuliani of New York, in particular, has been pushing the idea that more everyday civility can lower the urban crime rate.' Newspapers and newsmagazines have suggested the same thing. At the same time, civility has become a favorite subject for academics, with books and articles written by philosophers, sociologists, historians, linguists, and lawyers.' Two special topics have particularly engaged the attention of law professors: hate speech and sexual harassment. More "civility" and "respect" have been proposed as a solution to the problems of both. All in all, ideas that used to seem a little schoolmarmish in the wake of the 1960s-ideas about the enforcement of decent behavior-have come to seem respectable again, both politically and intellectually.

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