Making Rights Real: Activists, Bureaucrats, and the Creation of the Legalistic State

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University of Chicago Press, Feb 15, 2010 - Political Science - 320 pages

It’s a common complaint: the United States is overrun by rules and procedures that shackle professional judgment, have no valid purpose, and serve only to appease courts and lawyers. Charles R. Epp argues, however, that few Americans would want to return to an era without these legalistic policies, which in the 1970s helped bring recalcitrant bureaucracies into line with a growing national commitment to civil rights and individual dignity.

Focusing on three disparate policy areas—workplace sexual harassment, playground safety, and police brutality in both the United States and the United Kingdom—Epp explains how activists and professionals used legal liability, lawsuit-generated publicity, and innovative managerial ideas to pursue the implementation of new rights. Together, these strategies resulted in frameworks designed to make institutions accountable through intricate rules, employee training, and managerial oversight. Explaining how these practices became ubiquitous across bureaucratic organizations, Epp casts today’s legalistic state in an entirely new light.

 

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Contents

1 Introduction
1
The Fertile Fear of Liability
13
3 The Problem with Policing
31
4 Liabilitys Triumph
59
5 Policings Epiphany
93
Variations among Police Departments
115
7 Tort Liability and Police Reform in Britain
139
8 Sexual Harassment
165
9 Playground Safety
197
10 Conclusion
215
Methodological Appendix
233
Notes
265
Bibliography
321
Index
345
Copyright

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About the author (2010)

Charles R. Epp is associate professor in the Department of Public Administration at the University of Kansas.

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