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Legal Conversation as Signifier

Jan M. Broekman and Frank Fleerackers

Conversation and argument concerning laws and legal situations take place throughout society and at all levels, yet the language of these conversations differs greatly from that of the courtroom. This insightful book considers the gap between everyday discussion about law and the artificial, technical language developed by lawyers, judges and other legal specialists. In doing so, it explores the intriguing possibilities for future synthesis, a problem often neglected by legal theory.
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Chapter 2: Legal practice stalks the brain

Jan M. Broekman and Frank Fleerackers

Extract

Semiotic perspectives on legal practice involve three major subjects: the citizen’s mindset, the structures of law’s practice, and its discourse embedded in a master-narrative. Tendencies in modern law focus on the mind of a rule-following citizen in parallel with brain research activities and no longer solely as a moral instance. Law’s practice becomes, in that light, a matter of brain stalking. The structure of legal practice depends today more than ever on the case and in particular the speech character of cases. That is highlighted in the frame of e-communication, the many uses of smart phones on the street and of the cyber-story as its recent history. Finally, legal discourse is, like all professional discourses, embedded in a master-narrative. Features of that narrative are anchored in a post-modern mentality. A comparison of three master-narratives delivers insight in often-conflicting attitudes, which originate when one discourse must function in more than one master-narrative: a situation that occurs in Occidental law. Keywords Stalking the brain, Legal practice, Cases, Cyber-connectivity, Streets, Smart phones, Conflicting Narratives

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