The bodies of law

Performing truth and the mythology of lawyering in American law shows

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

1 Citation (Scopus)

Abstract

This article considers the way lawyers are represented in American television legal series. Countering the view that their focus on lawyers' theatrics makes these texts unworthy of study, this article argues that it is this very focus on physicality, and more particularly the performing bodies of these lawyers, that makes these series so interesting and important. They offer us alternative ways of thinking about lawyers' functioning by making visible how heavily lawyers' bodies are implicated in the processes of law. They reveal the ways in which lawyers embody and perform competing notions of truth and they demonstrate how law itself is constructed as spectacle. Given the global popularity of American legal series, it is concluded that they are constructing a new mythology of lawyers and lawyering that transcends cultural specificities, despite the apparent disjunction in the representation of a system of law which does not operate in the country of the consumer.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)395-413
Number of pages19
JournalEuropean Journal of Cultural Studies
Volume12
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2009
Externally publishedYes

Fingerprint

mythology
lawyer
Law
Mythology
Lawyers
popularity
television

Cite this

@article{43403abd86344585815e921dfaf0f181,
title = "The bodies of law: Performing truth and the mythology of lawyering in American law shows",
abstract = "This article considers the way lawyers are represented in American television legal series. Countering the view that their focus on lawyers' theatrics makes these texts unworthy of study, this article argues that it is this very focus on physicality, and more particularly the performing bodies of these lawyers, that makes these series so interesting and important. They offer us alternative ways of thinking about lawyers' functioning by making visible how heavily lawyers' bodies are implicated in the processes of law. They reveal the ways in which lawyers embody and perform competing notions of truth and they demonstrate how law itself is constructed as spectacle. Given the global popularity of American legal series, it is concluded that they are constructing a new mythology of lawyers and lawyering that transcends cultural specificities, despite the apparent disjunction in the representation of a system of law which does not operate in the country of the consumer.",
keywords = "Law, Legal dramas, Performance, Television, Truth",
author = "Jason Bainbridge",
year = "2009",
doi = "10.1177/1367549409342509",
language = "English",
volume = "12",
pages = "395--413",
journal = "European Journal of Cultural Studies",
issn = "1367-5494",
publisher = "SAGE Publications Ltd",
number = "4",

}

The bodies of law : Performing truth and the mythology of lawyering in American law shows. / Bainbridge, Jason.

In: European Journal of Cultural Studies, Vol. 12, No. 4, 2009, p. 395-413.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

TY - JOUR

T1 - The bodies of law

T2 - Performing truth and the mythology of lawyering in American law shows

AU - Bainbridge, Jason

PY - 2009

Y1 - 2009

N2 - This article considers the way lawyers are represented in American television legal series. Countering the view that their focus on lawyers' theatrics makes these texts unworthy of study, this article argues that it is this very focus on physicality, and more particularly the performing bodies of these lawyers, that makes these series so interesting and important. They offer us alternative ways of thinking about lawyers' functioning by making visible how heavily lawyers' bodies are implicated in the processes of law. They reveal the ways in which lawyers embody and perform competing notions of truth and they demonstrate how law itself is constructed as spectacle. Given the global popularity of American legal series, it is concluded that they are constructing a new mythology of lawyers and lawyering that transcends cultural specificities, despite the apparent disjunction in the representation of a system of law which does not operate in the country of the consumer.

AB - This article considers the way lawyers are represented in American television legal series. Countering the view that their focus on lawyers' theatrics makes these texts unworthy of study, this article argues that it is this very focus on physicality, and more particularly the performing bodies of these lawyers, that makes these series so interesting and important. They offer us alternative ways of thinking about lawyers' functioning by making visible how heavily lawyers' bodies are implicated in the processes of law. They reveal the ways in which lawyers embody and perform competing notions of truth and they demonstrate how law itself is constructed as spectacle. Given the global popularity of American legal series, it is concluded that they are constructing a new mythology of lawyers and lawyering that transcends cultural specificities, despite the apparent disjunction in the representation of a system of law which does not operate in the country of the consumer.

KW - Law

KW - Legal dramas

KW - Performance

KW - Television

KW - Truth

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=70350542545&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1177/1367549409342509

DO - 10.1177/1367549409342509

M3 - Article

VL - 12

SP - 395

EP - 413

JO - European Journal of Cultural Studies

JF - European Journal of Cultural Studies

SN - 1367-5494

IS - 4

ER -