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Understanding Law and Race as Mutually Constitutive: An Invitation to Explore an Emerging Field

Posted: 14 Nov 2010  

Laura E. Gomez

University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) - School of Law

Date Written: December 2010

Abstract

This article argues that law and race coconstruct each other. The idea that race is socially constructed has become widely accepted, and studies increasingly have explored law's role in shaping racial categories, racial conflict, racial ideology, and the racial order. Fewer studies have utilized a well-developed concept of race to examine how it has affected legislation, legal processes, legal ideology, and so forth. To explore how law and race are mutually constitutive, I draw on examples from a dozen monographs (all but one published since 1999) that are in-depth case studies of how law and race have interacted in diverse geographical regions over the past 400years. Cumulatively, they present new insights about how law and race are coconstructed to reproduce and transform racial inequality in society. They represent an emerging genre of sociolegal studies that reveals how law and race shape each other in an ongoing, dialectic process.

Suggested Citation

Gomez, Laura E., Understanding Law and Race as Mutually Constitutive: An Invitation to Explore an Emerging Field (December 2010). Annual Review of Law and Social Science, Vol. 6, pp. 487-505, 2010. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1708373 or http://dx.doi.org/10.1146/annurev.lawsocsci.093008.131508

Laura E. Gomez (Contact Author)

University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) - School of Law ( email )

385 Charles E. Young Dr. East
Room 1242
Los Angeles, CA 90095-1476
United States

HOME PAGE: http://law.ucla.edu/faculty/all-faculty-profiles/professors/Pages/laura-gomez.aspx

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