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After the "Social Meaning Turn": Implications for Research Design and Methods of Proof in Contemporary Criminal Law Policy Analysis

Bernard E. Harcourt
Law & Society Review
Vol. 34, No. 1 (2000), pp. 179-211
Published by: Wiley on behalf of the Law and Society Association
DOI: 10.2307/3115120
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3115120
Page Count: 33
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After the "Social Meaning Turn": Implications for Research Design and Methods of Proof in Contemporary Criminal Law Policy Analysis
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Abstract

The social norm movement in criminal justice has received a lot of attention in academic and public policy circles. This essay critically examines social norm writings and explores some of the implications for methods of proof and research design in the social sciences. In the process, the essay offers an alternative theoretical approach. This alternative focuses on the multiple ways in which the social meaning of practices (such as juvenile gun possession, gang membership, or disorderly conduct) and the social meaning of policing techniques (such as juvenile snitching policies, youth curfews, or order-maintenance policing) may shape us as contemporary subjects of society. This alternative theoretical approach has its own important implications for methods of proof and research design, and the essay develops these implications into a four-prong research agenda.

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