Funding for this study was provided by the National Science Foundation, Award 0451207. The authors thank Paul Quirk, Ken Kersch, Lynn Mather, Timothy Lytton, Anthony Sebok, the members of the Law, Societies, and Justice group at the University of Washington, and several anonymous reviewers for their comments on earlier versions of this article. The authors dedicate this article to Daniel Lev, a model sociolegal scholar, mentor, and colleague who greatly inspired two of us. Dan died of lung cancer in 2006 after smoking all his adult life.
Criminalizing Big Tobacco: Legal Mobilization and the Politics of Responsibility for Health Risks in the United States
Article first published online: 29 DEC 2011
© 2011 American Bar Foundation.
Law & Social Inquiry
Volume 38, Issue 2, pages 288–321, Spring 2013
How to Cite
McCann, M., Haltom, W. and Fisher, S. (2013), Criminalizing Big Tobacco: Legal Mobilization and the Politics of Responsibility for Health Risks in the United States. Law & Social Inquiry, 38: 288–321. doi: 10.1111/j.1747-4469.2011.01270.x
- Issue published online: 14 MAY 2013
- Article first published online: 29 DEC 2011
This article reinterprets the discursive terms and cultural meanings that redefined the legal campaign against Big Tobacco during recent decades. We underline the palpable shift from a conventional tort-based logic of products liability claims, which most analysts emphasize, to a logic incorporating key features identified with criminal law or “crimtorts.” The study builds on legal mobilization theory and combines narrative history of events with systematic analysis of media coverage across a twenty-year period to demonstrate how Big Tobacco was criminalized over two decades.