The study of language and law has seen explosive growth in the past twenty-five years. Research on police interrogations, trial examination, jury deliberation, plea bargains, same sex marriage, to name a few, has shown the central role of written and oral forms of language in the construction of legal meaning. However, there is another side of language that has rarely been analyzed in legal settings: the role of gesture and how it integrates with language in the law. This is the first book-length investigation of language and multimodal conduct in the law. Using audio-video tapes from a famous rape trial, Matoesian and Gilbert examine legal identity and impression management in the sociocultural performance of precedent, expert testimony, closing argument, exhibits, reported speech and trial examination. Drawing on insights from Jakobson and Silverstein, the authors show how the poetic function inheres not only in language but multimodal conduct generally. Their analysis opens up new empirical territory for both forensic linguistics and gesture studies.
Acknowledgements; List of transcription conventions; Introduction; 1. Multimodal conduct: what is it?; 2. Co-constructing expert identity; 3. The transformation of evidence into precedent; 4. Negotiating intertextuality; 5. Motives and accusations; 6. Nailing down an answer; 7. Exhibits, tapes, and inconsistency; 8. Material mediated gestures; 9. Rhythmic gestures and semanticity; 10. Conclusion; References; Index.
Gregory Matoesian is a Professor in the Department of Criminology, Law and Justice at the University of Illinois, Chicago. He is author of Reproducing Rape: Domination through Talk in the Courtroom (1993), Law and the Language of Identity (2001), and co-editor (with Elizabeth Mertz and William Ford) of Translating the Social World for Law (2016). Kristin Enola Gilbert received her Ph.D. from the Department of Criminology, Law and Justice at the University of Illinois, Chicago. Her current work focuses on language and multimodal conduct in focus group interactions. She has peer reviewed articles on gestures in Gesture, Multimodal Communication, Narrative Inquiry, and Discourse and Communication.
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