Monica Bell is a legal scholar and sociologist whose scholarship seeks to answer two general questions. First, how does the law shape community life? Second, how can the law be used to make communities whole? Currently, her work focuses on policing, police-community relations in the context of disadvantage, and the intersection of police regulation with related fields of law such as family, housing, and social services provision.
Monica's writings have appeared in social science journals and law journals. A recent paper, "Police Reform & the Dismantling of Legal Estrangement," develops the concept of legal estrangement and draws upon social theory and qualitative data from youth in Baltimore to propose new approaches to police governance. This paper appears in the May 2017 issue of The Yale Law Journal. Another recent paper, "Situational Trust: How Disadvantaged Mothers Reconceive Legal Cynicism," reveals specific ways that poor African-American mothers--often depicted as either disdainful of police or as manipulators who unfairly call the police on their relationship partners and children--strategize around criminal justice in the age of heavy policing. This paper, which received the best graduate student paper award of four sections of the American Sociological Association in 2015 (Crime, Law, and Deviance; Culture; Sociology of Law; and Race, Gender, and Class), appears in the June 2016 issue of the Law & Society Review.
As of Fall 2017, Monica will join Yale Law School as an Associate Professor of Law.
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