The bodies of law

Performing truth and the mythology of lawyering in American law shows

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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

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