Friday, October 31, 2014


Professor Mansbridge to Deliver the 2014-2015 Leff Lecture on Legitimate Coercion

Professor Jane J. Mansbridge will deliver the 2014-2015 Arthur Allen Leff Fellowship Lecture at Yale Law School on November 17. The lecture is titled “Legitimate Coercion: Not Just a Matter of Consent.” It will take place at 4:30 pm in the Faculty Lounge.

Mansbridge is the Adams Professor at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government. Her work focuses on studies of representation, democratic deliberation, everyday activism, and the public understanding of collective action problems.

“In a world of growing independence, we need more and more legitimate coercion to solve the ‘free-rider problems’ created by our growing need for ‘free-access goods,’” said Mansbridge. A free access good is the kind of good that, once created, is open to all to use, Mansbridge explained.

“Free-access goods can be as world-historically important as curbs on global warming and as seemingly trivial as the infrastructure and regulation that gets blueberries safe to eat on North American tables in the winter,” said Mansbridge. “In large, anonymous societies, we cannot get anything approximating the number of free-access goods that we need without coercion. The more interdependent we become, the more coercion we need, and the best coercion is legitimate coercion. This lecture takes up the conditions that produce legitimate coercion.”

Mansbridge is the author of Beyond Adversary Democracy and other works on feminism, self-interest, oppositional consciousness, social movements, participation, political representation, accountability, and deliberative systems. Her presidential address to the American Political Science Association in 2013 stressed the centrality and fragility of legitimate coercion.

The Arthur Allen Leff Fellowship, established in memory of Arthur Allen Leff, Southmayd Professor of Law, brings to Yale Law School people whose work in other disciplines illuminates the study of law and legal institutions.