Journal of Law and Society
An important theoretical contribution to the study of social movements involving legal mobilization is framing theory. Framing encourages an analysis of the parties involved and the tools used to make meaning of their cause. A scholarly gap emerges, however, when considering the race, gender, and class of the litigants and the social challenges they face. In this article, the author blends framing theory with controlling‐images theory to provide a conceptual tool of ‘the sympathetic symbol’ to analyse the effects of race, gender, and class. Next, the author introduces the legal and social histories of two school desegregation cases involving Chinese‐American and Mexican‐American plaintiffs, identifying the relevant controlling images germane to each case. Finally, the author questions whether a sympathetic symbol is necessary to counter the raced, gendered, and classed stereotypes that threaten the struggle for equality and suggests future directions for research.
Martinez-Cola, M. 2017. “Sympathetic Symbols, Social Movements, and School Desegregation” Journal of Law and Society https://doi.org/10.1111/jols.12071