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Marc Galanter’s influential article is now available in a convenient, affordable, and assignable book, with a new introduction by the author that explains the origins and aftermath of the original work. In addition, it features the author’s 2006 article applying the original thesis to real-world dilemmas in legal structure and consequence today. The collection also adds a new (2014) Foreword by Shauhin A. Talesh of the University of California-Irvine and a new (2014) Afterword by Robert W. Gordon of Stanford. These extensive commentaries offer the very latest insights into the impact and import of Galanter's thesis.
This is the fortieth anniversary edition of a classic of law and society, updated with extensive new commentary. Drawing a distinction between experienced “repeat players” and inexperienced “one shotters” in the U.S. judicial system, Marc Galanter establishes a recognized and applied model of how the structure of the legal system and an actor’s frequency of interaction with it can predict outcomes.
Notwithstanding democratic institutions of governance and the “majestic equality” of the courts, the enactment and implementation of genuinely redistributive measures is a hard uphill struggle. In one of the most-cited essays in the legal literature, Galanter incisively demolishes the myth that courts are the prime equalizing force in American society. He provides a penetrating analysis of the limitations and possibilities of courts as the source and engine of large-scale social change.