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Home > Catalog > Institutional Inequality and the Mobilization of the Family and Medical Leave Act
Institutional Inequality and the Mobilization of the Family and Medical Leave Act


  • Page extent: 312 pages
  • Size: 228 x 152 mm
  • Weight: 0.6 kg

Library of Congress

  • Dewey number: 344.7301/25763
  • Dewey version: 22
  • LC Classification: KF3531 .A95 2010
  • LC Subject headings:
    • Parental leave--Law and legislation--United States
    • Maternity leave--Law and legislation--United States
    • Sick leave--Law and legislation--United States
    • Leave of absence--Law and legislation--United States
    • United States.--Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993

Library of Congress Record

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 (ISBN-13: 9780521878975)

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How do Family and Medical Leave Act rights operate in practice in the courts and in the workplace? This empirical study examines how institutions and social practices transform the meaning of these rights to recreate inequality. Workplace rules and norms built around the family wage ideal, the assumption that disability and work are mutually exclusive, and management’s historical control over time all constrain opportunities for social change. Yet workers can also mobilize rights as a cultural discourse to change the social meaning of family and medical leave.

Drawing on theoretical frameworks from social constructivism and new institutionalism, this study explains how institutions transform rights to recreate systems of power and inequality but at the same time also provide opportunities for law to change social structure. It provides a fresh look at the perennial debate about law and social change by examining how institutions shape the process of rights mobilization.


1. Institutions, inequality, and the mobilization of rights; 2. The social institution of work; 3. Institutional inequality and legal reform; 4. Mobilizing the FMLA in the workplace: rights, institutions, and social meaning; 5. Mobilizing rights in the courts: the paradox of losing by winning; 6. Conclusion.


"This pathbreaking study offers new and compelling insights into the ways that workplaces institutionalize gender inequality and the capacity and constraints of legal rights in challenging social injustice."

Deborah L. Rhode
Director, Center on the Legal Profession
E.W. McFarland Professor of Law
Stanford Law School

"Do legal rights produce social change? Albiston gives a more nuanced answer than a simple yes or no, making this book required reading not only for anyone interested in gender and work-family policy, but also for those focused on social inequality, jurisprudence, legal history and organizational change."

Joan C. Williams
Distinguished Professor of Law, 1066 Foundation Chair and Director, Center for WorkLife Law
University of California, Hastings College of the Law

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