Events / Neil A. Weiner Research Speaker Series

Policing, Legal Estrangement, & Urban Marginality

Past Event
Wednesday, May 23, 2018
12:30 PM — 1:30 PM
Vera Institute of Justice

This project examines how predominantly African-American samples of parents and youth in three American cities—Washington, DC; Cleveland, Ohio; and Baltimore, Maryland—understand police presence in their everyday lives. In reexamining this issue, the project as a whole reveals the deep and often overlooked complexity in the relationships between marginalized communities, the police, urban neighborhoods, and the state that are rarely considered in popular conversations about police reform and transformation. As an analytical framework, this project develops the concept of legal estrangement, which focuses on perceived group inclusivity or exclusivity of law and legal authority. This focus on signaling exclusion operates in contrast to concepts like legal cynicism or legitimacy. The project ultimately proposes that social solidarity should be recognized as a central aim of law and a means of evaluating policy and engaging in legal analysis.

Monica Bell is an associate professor of law at Yale Law School. Her areas of expertise include criminal law and criminal justice, poverty and welfare law, housing, race and the law, qualitative empirical methods, social inequality, and law and sociology.

Before joining the Yale Law School faculty in 2017, Bell was a Climenko Fellow & Lecturer on Law at Harvard Law School. She previously served as a Liman Fellow at the Legal Aid Society of the District of Columbia, where she worked on matters related to cash assistance to families and disabled adults, child support, unemployment insurance, homeless services, healthcare, and other legal and policy issues affecting poor women and families. Born and raised in South Carolina's Upcountry, Bell holds degrees from Furman University (Truman Scholar), University College Dublin (Mitchell Scholar), Yale Law School, and Harvard University.