The Activist Plus: Dispute Systems Design and Social Activism

20 Pages Posted: 14 Jun 2018

Date Written: 2017


Scholars have argued for decades that social movement activism is as much a source of law as statutes and judicial decisions. For those of us who study alternative dispute resolution, this rich literature presents a potentially fertile area of inquiry. If activism is strategic persuasion, outside formal legal channels, that creates social meaning and binding commitments, then does that make activism a type of ADR? Or is ADR a type of activism, in that it continually seeks to innovate new and better methods of dispute processing and decision making? Is an activist the opposite of a negotiator or simply a certain kind of negotiator-perhaps the hard-core, values-driven, distributive kind? How do we in ADR account for activists, anarchists, violent protestors, and other radical groups that are suspicious of political and legal institutions and often reluctant to negotiate? Are we mortal enemies, natural allies, strange bedfellows, or wary potential partners?'

Keywords: Negotiation, Alternative Dispute Resolution, Adr, Activism, Dispute Systems Design

Suggested Citation

Reynolds, Jennifer Wenska, The Activist Plus: Dispute Systems Design and Social Activism (2017). University of St. Thomas Law Journal, Vol. 13, No. 2, 2017, Available at SSRN:

Jennifer Wenska Reynolds (Contact Author)

University of Oregon School of Law ( email )

1515 Agate Street
Eugene, OR Oregon 97403
United States
541-346-3691 (Phone)

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