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Insiders, Outsiders, Injuries, and Law
Revisiting 'The Oven Bird's Song'


Part of Cambridge Studies in Law and Society

Mary Nell Trautner, David M. Engel, Barbara Yngvesson, Alfred S. Konefsky, Anna-Maria Marshall, Lynn Mather, Valerie P. Hans, Stewart Macaulay, Eve Darian-Smith, Michael McCann, Jamie Longazel, Anne Bloom, Renee Ann Cramer, Anya Bernstein, Yoshitaka Wada, Annie Bunting
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  • Date Published: March 2018
  • availability: In stock
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9781316638484

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About the Authors
  • A central theme of law and society is that people's ideas about law and the decisions they make to mobilize law are shaped by community norms and cultural context. But this was not always an established concept. Among the first empirical pieces to articulate this theory was David Engel's 1984 article, 'The Oven Bird's Song: Insiders, Outsiders, and Personal Injuries in an American Community'. Over thirty years later, this article is now widely considered to be part of the law and society canon. This book argues that Engel's article succeeds so brilliantly because it integrates a wide variety of issues, such as cultural transformation, attitudes about law, dispute processing, legal consciousness, rights mobilization, inclusion and exclusion, and inequality. Contributors to this volume explore the influence of Engel's important work, engaging with the possibilities in its challenging hypotheses and provocative omissions related to the legal system and legal process, class conflict and difference, and law in other cultures.

    • Uses a single canonical article as a window into the legal system and legal process
    • Provides a multidisciplinary exploration highly accessible to scholars of many fields
    • Shows how status impacts not only the decisions that people make about law, but also how others respond to those decisions
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    Product details

    • Date Published: March 2018
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9781316638484
    • length: 314 pages
    • dimensions: 228 x 153 x 16 mm
    • weight: 0.44kg
    • contains: 7 b/w illus.
    • availability: In stock
  • Table of Contents

    Part I. Introduction and Contextualization:
    1. Revisiting the oven bird's song Mary Nell Trautner
    2. The oven bird's song: insiders, outsiders, and personal injuries in an American community David M. Engel
    3. Emulating Sherlock Holmes: the dog that didn't bark, the victim who didn't sue, and other contradictions of the 'hyper-litigious' society Barbara Yngvesson
    4. Karl's law school, or the oven bird in Buffalo Alfred S. Konefsky
    Part II. The Oven Bird's Insights into the Legal System and Legal Process:
    5. Challenging legal consciousness: practice, institutions, and varieties of resistance Anna-Maria Marshall
    6. Client selection: how lawyers reflect and influence community values Lynn Mather
    7. Do jurors hear the oven bird's song? Valerie P. Hans
    8. Having a right but using it too: 'The Oven Bird's Song' about contracts Stewart Macaulay
    Part III. Insiders, Outsiders, Class Conflict, and Difference:
    9. Indigenous litigiousness: the oven bird's song and the miner's canary Eve Darian-Smith
    10. Listening for the songs of others: insiders, outsiders, and the legal marginalization of the working underclass in America Michael McCann
    11. Racing the oven bird: criminalization, rightlessness, and the politics of immigration Jamie Longazel
    12. Irresponsible matter: sublunar dreams of injury and identity Anne Bloom
    13. Student perceptions of (their) place in relationship to 'The Oven Bird's Song' Renee Ann Cramer
    Part IV. Conflict and Law in Other Cultures:
    14. The songs of other birds Anya Bernstein
    15. Imagined community and litigation behavior: the meaning of automobile compensation lawsuits in Japan Yoshitaka Wada
    16. Can 'The Oven Bird' migrate north of the border? Annie Bunting
    Part V. Afterward:
    17. Looking backward, looking forward: past and future lives of 'The Oven Bird's Song' David M. Engel.

  • Editor

    Mary Nell Trautner, University of Buffalo
    Mary Nell Trautner is Associate Professor of Sociology at the University at Buffalo, State University of New York. She earned her Ph.D. in Sociology from the University of Arizona. She is currently working on a National Science Foundation-funded study of how families cope and make decisions about their child's birth injuries. Her research appears in Gender and Society, American Sociological Review, Law and Policy, and other outlets.


    Mary Nell Trautner, David M. Engel, Barbara Yngvesson, Alfred S. Konefsky, Anna-Maria Marshall, Lynn Mather, Valerie P. Hans, Stewart Macaulay, Eve Darian-Smith, Michael McCann, Jamie Longazel, Anne Bloom, Renee Ann Cramer, Anya Bernstein, Yoshitaka Wada, Annie Bunting

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