teles book forum #2: conservatives in the sociological lens

This is round two of the forum on The Rise of the Conservative Legal Movement. Click here for Steve’s remarks from last week.

My topic this week: how does the fact the RoCLM depend on the fact that Teles writes about conservatives? It’s apparent that Teles uses the intellectual framework associated with contemporary movement scholarship, even though most of that framework was developed to explain events such as the civil rights movement. It’s a dual story about the framing of legal scholarship and networks/institutions designed to promote that new framing. Here are questions for Steve:

  1. Mitchell Stevens’ work on home schoolers shows that the social organization of home school groups depends on the ideology of the group. Liberals are less likely to employ hierarchical models when setting up their parent networks and educational practices. In contrast, conservatives tries to strongly mimic traditional schools and their parent groups often have a “top down” flavor. Can this lesson be carried over to the CLM?
  2. Impact on liberals and push back: As we’ll see later this month, Tina Fetner shows that liberals were strongly affected by conservative politics. How did liberal legal academia respond to the CLM? Did it revitalize them? Did they launch new efforts? Is there a new liberal legal theory being pushed, one better than critical race theory?
  3. How does conservative ideology dictate which issues get the most effort? In a later chapter, you mention that a severe limitation of conservative legal efforts is that most of the effort goes into hot button issues with limited impact, such as campus speech codes. Liberal seem more willing to fight on bread and butter issues. Can you say more about that?
  4. How does this affect the debate over conservatives in academia? I’d argue that CLM is one of the few intellectual success stories in academia for conservatives, in addition to market economics and, perhaps, Straussian/conservative political theory. Otherwise, a-political theories or theories associated with liberal or left politics are most popular in the rest of the humanities and social sciences. Two of these movements had substantial money backing them. Is it money? Or are there other factors that link these two movement successes? What can their counterparts in philosophy or literature take from RoCLM?

Add your own questions in the comments.

Written by fabiorojas

August 11, 2008 at 3:54 am

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  1. […] books, fabio, political science, social movements, sociology by fabiorojas on August 13th, 2008 Here is Steve’s response to Monday’s questions about social movements and conservatives. More later this week from […]


  2. […] social movements, sociology by fabiorojas on August 14th, 2008 In this week’s book forum, I asked Steve Teles if liberal legal academia had effectively responded to the conservative challeng…. Here’s what Steve […]


  3. Hi all,

    New to the forum, just thought I’d introduce myself :-)



    September 20, 2009 at 11:21 am

  4. […] coalition to institutionalize a particular set of policy solutions. As we talked about in a series of posts last year, Steven Teles’s fascinating book about the rise of the conservative legal […]


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  6. […] An online book forum was conducted through a series of blog posts on here, here, and here. See also […]


  7. […] in a few passages that allude to Steve Teles’ book on conservarive legal academia, which we discussed in detail on this blog. The issue is that the world of conservative intellectuals that have influence is more defined by […]


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