Lauren B. Edelman



I work at the intersection of the sociology of law, organization theory (in particular, neo-institutional theory), and the general socio-legal literature on rights. I follow the sociological tradition of using empirical methods to develop and test theoretical arguments, and I use a variety of empirical methods – mostly surveys, interviews, and content analyses of personnel journals and court cases.

I am currently working on four projects. The first is a book, which is tentatively titled Working Law: The Managerialization of Civil Rights in the Workplace. Based on empirical studies of both organizations and judicial decisions, the book suggests that organizations infuse managerial values into civil rights law in a way that simultaneously legalizes organizations and “managerializes” law. The second project, which is related to the book, is an empirical study of how judges incorporate institutionalized employment practices into their constructions of civil rights. The project, which is collaborative with Linda Krieger, Scott Eliason, and KT Albiston, involves a quantitative and qualitative analyses of 1000 federal civil rights cases from 1964-1999. The third project, which is collaborative with Richard Arum, Calvin Morrill, and Karolyn Tyson, examines how students, teachers, and administrators understand and mobilize legal rights in the areas of discipline, civil rights, and free speech. We are conducting surveys of students, teachers, and administrators in 24 schools in three states and are also conducting ethnographies in 6 of those schools. Finally, I am working on a theoretical study of the interplay between social movements, law, and organizations with Doug McAdam.

In addition to my academic pursuits, I am a decent fiddler, a half decent jeweler, and a pretty bad dog trainer.

Professor Edelman’s faculty profile, bio, and other information can be found here.