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

39 Pages Posted: 8 Jul 2009 Last revised: 21 Aug 2009

Kathryn Hendley

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

Date Written: July 8, 2009

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.

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

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

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: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1431565 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1431565

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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