Résilience - COVID-19 - Résilience - Coronavirus disease 2019

Injustices and Disputes: Examining the Lived Experience of the Law during the COVID-19 Crisis – INJUVID

Injustices and Disputes: Examining the Lived Experience of the Law during the COVID-19 Crisis

Family, Work and Public Space in Two French Territories

Abstract

INJUVID will study three significant domains of daily life – public space, family and work – in order to explore the ways in which both individuals and groups negotiate those tensions and disputes which have been exacerbated by measures to impede the spread of COVID-19, such as; lockdowns, curfews, limited access to social services and the institution of new sanitary measures in the workplace. This project seeks to understand how, when and to what effect citizens attempt to utilise the law when they perceive themselves to be the victims of unfair or unsafe conditions, within the context of daily life during the COVID-19 pandemic. To this end, this project will make use of a Legal Consciousness Studies approach, a tradition which has since the 1990s revived the analysis of how individuals use and understand the law in day-to-day contexts. Drawing on interviews and written documents from individuals (who have encountered problematic legal situations) as well as legal intermediaries (such as grassroots organizations against police violence, trade unions, feminist groups, family community services and labour inspectors), this project will endeavour to study the lived experience of the law in two different regions of France (Ile de France and Bretagne), which have had substantially divergent experiences of the COVID-19 crisis. This project will more specifically look into how individuals and communities mobilise the law, solicit legal intermediaries and find (or do not find) recourse in legal institutions. This work will allow for an improved understanding of how forms of inequality and vulnerability come to shape individuals’ experience of the law and legal enforcement in the context of the ongoing pandemic, thus helping to improve our overall resilience in the face of the current crisis.

The decision was taken to employ a qualitative methodology, based on an in-depth exploration of individuals’ lived experience of the law. Given that personally painful experiences maybe touched upon, it will be incumbent upon the researchers to develop a relationship that can be conducive to aiding the articulation of these experiences. The temporality of these experiences will be an important element to consider, given that at least some of the interviews will cover events that occurred more than a year ago. A well-known danger in this type of research design, is the risk of retrospective illusion. This project hopes to overcome this potential risk by providing participants with visual aids (such as posters, photos and material from social media), which date from the time of the first lockdown, so as to help stimulate their memories.
In each of the three domains, a particular target population will be focused on. In terms of the family, this project will identify parents who have approached associations or legal professionals about tensions or conflicts in the family (i.e. between spouses, between parents and children or even between the extended family). Although domestic violence is expected to be a major feature of this part of the project, it is not a limiting feature. As regards work, the project will identify individuals or collectives who have appealed to the labour inspectorate or a union over their work conditions or the management of health risks, during the pandemic. Regarding public space, this project will identify individuals who, having been fined for failure to comply with sanitary measures (such as quarantine, the curfew, the obligation to wear a mask, etc.), now denounce police action which they consider to be an abuse of power.
This project’s originality does not lie in any one of these three domains, but rather in bringing them together. This project intends to develop a common interview guide in order to compare experiences of participants across these three areas. For instance, those identified for the family focused section of this study will also be asked about their experience of changing occupational health and safety standards, as well as their experience of increased police control in public spaces.
Equally, this project will interview legal intermediaries, both professional and non-professional, who contribute to the socialisation of legal laypersons, helping to guide how they seek to redress their grievances and frame the law in everyday life (Talesh and Pélisse 2019). These intermediaries are made up of associations against police violence, trade unions and labour inspectors, feminist groups and family-aid groups, amongst others.

To be continued

To be continued

To be continued

INJUVID will study three significant domains of daily life – public space, family and work – in order to explore the ways in which both individuals and groups negotiate those injustices and disputes which have been exacerbated by measures to impede the spread of COVID-19, such as; lockdowns, curfews, limited access to community services and courts, and new sanitary measures in the workplace. This project seeks to understand how, when and to what effect citizens deal with the law when they perceive themselves to be the victims of unjust or unsafe conditions, within the context of daily life during the COVID-19 pandemic. To this end, this project will make use of a Legal Consciousness Studies approach, a theoretical framework which has since the 1990s revived the analysis of how individuals use and understand the law in day-to-day contexts. Drawing on interviews and written documents from individuals (who have encountered problematic legal situations) as well as legal intermediaries (such as grassroots organizations against police violence, trade unions, labour inspectors, feminist movements, family-oriented community groups), this project will endeavour to study the lived experience of the law in two different regions of France (Ile de France and Bretagne), which have had substantially divergent experiences of the COVID-19 crisis. This project will more specifically look into how individuals and communities conceive and mobilise the law, solicit legal intermediaries and find (or do not find) recourse in legal institutions. This work will allow for an improved understanding of how forms of inequality and vulnerability come to shape individuals’ experience of the law and legal enforcement in the context of the ongoing pandemic, thus helping to improve our overall resilience in the face of the current crisis.

Project coordination

Emilie Biland (Centre de sociologie des organisations)

The author of this summary is the project coordinator, who is responsible for the content of this summary. The ANR declines any responsibility as for its contents.

Partner

CESDIP Centre de recherches sociologiques sur le droit et les institutions pénales
CSO Centre de sociologie des organisations

Help of the ANR 79,999 euros
Beginning and duration of the scientific project: June 2021 - 12 Months

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