Mobilizing Law in Contemporary Russia: The Evolution of Disputes Over Home Repair Projects
39 Pages Posted: 8 Jul 2009 Last revised: 21 Aug 2009
Date Written: July 8, 2009
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: Suggested Citation
By Jeffrey Kahn