Failed Revolutions: Social Reform and the Limits of Legal Imagination

By Richard Delgado; Jean Stefancic | Go to book overview

About the Book and Authors

Forty years after school integration became the law of the land, African-American poverty, isolation, and despair are as deep as ever. Thirty years after the environmental revolution of the 1960s, our environment continues to deteriorate. Why have these and so many other hopeful revolutions failed?

Focusing on the crucial discipline of the law, Failed Revolutions casts light on the many forces working against meaningful social change. Through the construction of authority, the marginalization of dissenting views, and institutions designed to replicate established opinion, the legal profession systematically blocks not just the possibility of change but even our ability to imagine it.

In this engaging, learned, and sharply-argued book, Delgado and Stefancic show how we derail even our most sincere reform efforts. They reveal the defenses, brakes, and conservative impulses that work to undermine the realization of revolutionary goals. The result is a theory of social regression but not a counsel of despair. With understanding come tactics for reformers that can still make a difference.

Charged with passionate and lucid eloquence, Failed Revolutions will be of particular interest to lawyers and legal scholars, but its wide implications make it valuable reading for any citizen concerned with the possibility of social reform.

Richard Delgado is Charles Inglis Thomson Professor of Law at the University of Colorado. He is the author of many articles on critical race theory and "outsider" law. Jean Stefancic is a research associate at the University of Colorado Law School. Delgado, one of the founders of critical race theory, is coauthor of Words That Wound: Critical Race Theory, Assaultive Speech, and the First Amendment (West-view, 1993). Stefancic writes on legal scholarship and law reform. Both have won numerous awards and recognitions, including a 1993 Rockefeller Foundation Bellagio grant under which they completed this book.

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