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Mobilizing Law in Contemporary Russia: The Evolution of Disputes Over Home Repair Projects


Kathryn Hendley


University of Wisconsin-Madison Law School; University of Wisconsin - Madison - Department of Political Science

July 8, 2009

Univ. of Wisconsin Legal Studies Research Paper No. 1090

Abstract:     
The article explores the relevance of law to the lives of ordinary Russians. Drawing on the discussion in six focus groups composed of Russians who had recently participated in home repair projects, the analysis traces their behavior using the “disputing pyramid” framework developed by Felstiner, Abel, and Sarat. Few of the homeowners were satisfied with the outcomes of their projects, but less than half made any sort of claim. Their belief that the substantive law would block their claims emerged as a more important explanatory variable than a lack of trust in judicial institutions due to corruption. The initial hypothesis that age (as a proxy for exposure to Soviet-era justice) would be a powerful predictor of behavior was not born out. The research suggests that gender and location may be more robust predictors.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 39

Keywords: Contracts, Disputes, Housing, Informal norms, Legal culture, Russia

JEL Classification: D74, D81, K12, K41, K42, N34, O17, P37

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Date posted: July 8, 2009 ; Last revised: August 21, 2009

Suggested Citation

Hendley, Kathryn, Mobilizing Law in Contemporary Russia: The Evolution of Disputes Over Home Repair Projects (July 8, 2009). Univ. of Wisconsin Legal Studies Research Paper No. 1090. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1431565 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1431565

Contact Information

Kathryn Hendley (Contact Author)
University of Wisconsin-Madison Law School ( email )
975 Bascom Mall
Madison, WI 53706
United States
301-405-3476 (Phone)
301-405-3542 (Fax)
University of Wisconsin - Madison - Department of Political Science ( email )
1050 Bascom Mall
Madison, WI 53706
United States
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