When Law Goes Pop: The Vanishing Line between Law and Popular Culture

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9780226752921: When Law Goes Pop: The Vanishing Line between Law and Popular Culture
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The past few decades have seen the legal system entering American popular culture like never before, from the media blitzes surrounding high-profile trials to the countless television programs in which judges rule on everyday disputes. What, if anything, does this mean for the legal system itself? According to Richard K. Sherwin, it is a dangerous development—one that threatens to turn law into spectacle, undermining public confidence as legal style and logic begin to resemble advertising and public relations.

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Remember the national fascination with the televised Menendez brothers' trial? What about the episode of Law & Order in which the aristocratic Upper East Sider may or may not have pushed his wife into a coma? Oh, wait, that was the Claus von Bülow story--which was also made into a movie. This type of reciprocity of law and popular culture is of concern to NYU law professor Richard Sherwin. To Sherwin, the mingling of law and entertainment flattens discourse, occludes real understanding of the law and legal practices, and threatens democracy insofar as the public loses faith in "real law" when it does not conform to the law as seen at home, in popular culture, and on TV.

Sherwin analyzes the cultural and cognitive models at play in the telling and hearing of legal narratives and critiques the tools of meaning-making by looking closely at specific well-known cases and their outcomes. He also examines the use of public relations consultants to spin and provide a seductive coherence to their clients' cases (think of the "impromptu" press conferences on the courthouse steps). When Law Goes Pop is a rich and erudite critique of law as popular culture. It is a call to be alert to the deleterious effects of what another scholar, Doug Reed, has called "the juridico-entertainment complex," and a timely reminder of what is at stake. --J.R.

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"Elegantly written, provocative in the questions that it raises, inspiring in the hope that it stirs, this compelling work casts much-needed light on the spectacle of law both inside the courtroom and in the court of public opinion. It is required reading for anyone concerned about the rule of law in our time."--Nadine Strossen, President, American Civil Liberties Union                                                                               "Richard Sherwin has given us a learned and vivid book on the two-way traffic between law and popular culture - how conceptions of law get transformed in the press or on television and then work their way back into the courtroom. The book is rich in insights that clarify the cases it explores. But for all its particularity, it never loses sight of the broad issue of how law and popular culture must keep in touch if either is to survive."--Jerome Bruner, author of The Culture of Education

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9780226752914: When Law Goes Pop: The Vanishing Line between Law and Popular Culture

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ISBN 10:  0226752917 ISBN 13:  9780226752914
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Book Description The University of Chicago Press, United States, 2002. Paperback. Condition: New. 2nd ed.. Language: English . Brand New Book. In recent years, millions of TV viewers have devoured images of the law. Amy Fisher, O.J. Simpson, Rodney King and JonBenet Ramsey have become household names. To meet popular demand we have a cable channel devoted to trials and police dramas 24 hours a day. Quick justice-dealing judges preside over TV courtrooms resolving real-life conflicts. What are the consequences when legal culture and popular culture dissolve into eath other? What happens, asks Richard K. Sherwin, when law goes pop? Sherwin, a law professor and former New York prosecutor, offers a pathbreaking interdisciplinary study of law and popular culture. He argues that in the welter of communication technologies, an unrestrained marketplace and postmodern ideas, law is increasingly becoming a spectacle, mimicking the style, techniques and visual logic of advertising and public relations. How will law continue to function when truth becomes interpretation and reality and fiction can no longer be separated? To answer these questions, Sherwin draws on a wealth of fascinating material: the contemporary storytelling strategies of lawyers; notoriously popular criminal cases in American legal history; representations of the law such as Errol Morris s The Thin Blue Line ; and examples of how lawyers and judges have used the media to legitimize the judicial process. The law can be a powerful and affirmative tool for realizing meaning in postmodern life, but not when it is buffeted by corrosive cultural practices. When Law Goes Pop is an examination of legal practice in today s world, one that should be needed by everyone concerned with the future of our legal system and the meaning we invest in it. Seller Inventory # AAH9780226752921

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