I originally became interested in the law and society nature of this research project through a law school and then graduate political science educational background. This led me to consider courts in a number of settings, including the popular tribunals in Cuba. Before going to Chile, I wrote a lengthy paper comparing local court institutions in tribal, peasant, urban U.S. and Cuban settings. As that paper was being completed, Allende had been elected and proposals for neighborhood courts were in the air. This coincided with the above interests and with the urban political and Latin American foci I had in graduate school.