From Legal Doctrine to Social Transformation? Comparing U.S. Voting Rights, Equal Employment Opportunity, and Fair Housing Legislation
AffiliationUniv Arizona, Sociol
Univ Arizona, Law
Univ Arizona, Govt & Publ Policy
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherUNIV CHICAGO PRESS
CitationFrom Legal Doctrine to Social Transformation? Comparing U.S. Voting Rights, Equal Employment Opportunity, and Fair Housing Legislation 2017, 123 (1):86 American Journal of Sociology
JournalAmerican Journal of Sociology
Rights© 2017 by The University of Chicago. All rights reserved.
Collection InformationThis item from the UA Faculty Publications collection is made available by the University of Arizona with support from the University of Arizona Libraries. If you have questions, please contact us at email@example.com.
AbstractIn 1964-68, the U.S. Congress enacted comprehensive legislation prohibiting discrimination in employment (1964 Civil Rights Act), voting (1965 Voting Rights Act), and housing (1968 Fair Housing Act). A half-century later, most scholars concur that voting rights was by far the most successful, fair housing was a general failure, and Title VII fell somewhere in between. Explanations of civil rights effectiveness in political sociology that emphasize state-internal resources and capacities, policy entrepreneurship, and/or the degree of white resentment cannot explain this specific outcome hierarchy. Pertinent to President Trump's policies, the authors propose an alternative hypothesis grounded in the sociology of law: the comparative effectiveness of civil rights policies is best explained by the extent to which each policy incorporated a group-centered effects (GCE) statutory and enforcement framework. Focusing on systemic group disadvantage rather than individual harm, discriminatory consequences rather than discriminatory intent, and substantive group results over individual justice, GCE offers an alternative theoretical framework for analyzing comparative civil rights outcomes.
Note12 month embargo; Published Online: July 2017
VersionFinal published version
SponsorsNational Science Foundation [SES-0963418]; University of Arizona Social and Behavioral Sciences Research Professorship; Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences at Stanford University