Naming, blaming, claiming: an interview with Bill Felstiner, Rick Abel, and Austin Sarat

Annette Olesen, Ole Hammerslev

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One of the most cited and influential socio-legal articles is Bill Felstiner, Rick Abel, andAustin Sarat’s ‘The Emergence and Transformation of Disputes: Naming, Blaming, Claiming ...’, published in 1981. Forty years later, the notions and framework of the article are still highly relevant. We convened Felstiner, Abel, and Sarat for an interview about the background to their article, its reception, and how they view the recent refocus on institutions with respect to the rule of law. The interview follows three narratives. First, it explores the social relation between the authors and the academic and political context from which the article emerged. Second, it addresses questions about the societal impact of research. Third, it points to ways in which we, today, attempt to create access to official channels for problem solving and conflict resolution as well as to new technologies affecting the infrastructure of naming, blaming, and claiming with respect to justiciable problems.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Law and Society
Issue number3
Pages (from-to)295-307
Publication statusPublished - 2021

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