Abstract

http://ssrn.com/abstract=1905717
 


 



The Open Road and the Traffic Stop: Narratives and Counter-Narratives of the American Dream


Nancy Leong


University of Denver Sturm College of Law

August 5, 2011

64 Florida Law Review 305 (2012)
U Denver Legal Studies Research Paper No. 11-23

Abstract:     
American culture is steeped in the mythology of the open road. In our collective imagination, the road represents freedom, escape, friendship, romance, and above all, the possibility for a better life. But our shared dream of the open road comes to a halt in the mundane reality of the traffic stop - a judicially-authorized policing procedure in which an officer may pull over a vehicle if she has cause to believe the driver has committed even the most minor traffic violation. This paper examines the cultural texts - books, movies, songs - celebrating the open road and juxtaposes them against those documenting the traffic stop. The traffic stop, I conclude, interrupts the open road narrative closely associated with the American dream. Those stopped most frequently - in particular, racial minorities - are consequently denied full participation in an abiding national fantasy.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 57

Keywords: road, traffic stop, American dream, Fourth Amendment, culture, law and culture, race, racial profiling

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Date posted: August 5, 2011 ; Last revised: September 10, 2012

Suggested Citation

Leong, Nancy, The Open Road and the Traffic Stop: Narratives and Counter-Narratives of the American Dream (August 5, 2011). 64 Florida Law Review 305 (2012); U Denver Legal Studies Research Paper No. 11-23. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1905717

Contact Information

Nancy Leong (Contact Author)
University of Denver Sturm College of Law ( email )
2255 E. Evans. Ave.
# 465A
Denver, CO 80208-0600
United States
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