Empirical indicators of mobilization of law
Keywords:mobilization of law, behavior of law, operationalization, legal behavior, legal mobilization, victimization, sociology of law, law enforcement, Donald Black
Donald Black has been a key theorist in sociology of law over the last quarter-century. His principal idea is that in specific situations governmental social control can be measured quantitatively by tracking the activities of individuals who use legal system. Black views the quantity of law as dependant on social structure inextricably linked to society. Unlike numerous works focused on Black’s behavior of law theory, this article highlights his theory of the mobilization of law.Mobilization of law is a phenomenon when a life situation turns into a legal case (lawsuit, criminal case, etc.). The studies testing Black’s theory propose different approaches to this phenomenon. The author differentiates between an ‘action-based’ approach and a ‘results-based’ approach. The article examines eleven quantitative studies of citizens’ mobilization of law published in 1979—2017 and considers empirical indicators of the mobilization of law and social structure factors.The current research practices are oriented towards the fact of mobilization of law (appeal to court or police) but attempts to assess their success are scarce. When it comes to operationalization of social structure factors, it is of utmost importance to choose the indicators which best suit the conditions of the society under consideration rather than those popular in today’s studies. The Black’s theory is rich in indicators; however the data available for the researchers are limited.Victimization surveys which take into account the latent crime are often used as a source. A turn to data in criminology and empirical legal studies may lead to positive changes in the studies of the mobilization of law and even redefine them.