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Doing Loyalty: Defense Lawyers' Subtle Dramas in the Courtroom

Flower, Lisa LU (2016) In Journal of Contemporary Ethnography p.1-29
Abstract
The courtroom work of defense lawyers has received surprisingly little sociological attention. What does a defense lawyer actually do in court? How do defense lawyers represent their client beyond the hard paragraphs of the law? By studying this phenomenon in a context where the scope for expressive gestures is limited, it is possible to gain a greater understanding into the often subtle ways in which legal teamwork is performed. This article draws on ethnographic field notes from courtrooms in Sweden to explore how defense lawyers, who have taken an oath to loyally represent clients, do this using (1) little dramatic productions, (2) little dramatic reductions, and (3) directions of teammates. These strategies are found to involve the use... (More)
The courtroom work of defense lawyers has received surprisingly little sociological attention. What does a defense lawyer actually do in court? How do defense lawyers represent their client beyond the hard paragraphs of the law? By studying this phenomenon in a context where the scope for expressive gestures is limited, it is possible to gain a greater understanding into the often subtle ways in which legal teamwork is performed. This article draws on ethnographic field notes from courtrooms in Sweden to explore how defense lawyers, who have taken an oath to loyally represent clients, do this using (1) little dramatic productions, (2) little dramatic reductions, and (3) directions of teammates. These strategies are found to involve the use of props and the body in order to perform vicarious face-saving practices necessary to maintain professional face and teamface and to manage face threats. Each of these strategies reproduce and reinforce the emotional regime of the courtroom. A Goffmanian framework is used to show how emotions are managed in the courtroom in order to conform to the emotional regime. The findings therefore show how defense lawyers not only represent their clients juridically but also interactionally and introduces the new term “little dramatic reductions,” which is also relevant to other professions involving loyalty and teamwork. (Less)
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author
organization
publishing date
type
Contribution to journal
publication status
published
subject
keywords
impression management, emotions, law, sociology of emotions, teamwork, loyalty
in
Journal of Contemporary Ethnography
pages
29 pages
publisher
SAGE Publications
ISSN
0891-2416
DOI
10.1177/0891241616646826
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
20d3b5ba-c6fc-4c0b-ba22-c61dfc578ada
date added to LUP
2016-05-19 09:55:47
date last changed
2016-10-11 08:46:41
@misc{20d3b5ba-c6fc-4c0b-ba22-c61dfc578ada,
  abstract     = {The courtroom work of defense lawyers has received surprisingly little sociological attention. What does a defense lawyer actually do in court? How do defense lawyers represent their client beyond the hard paragraphs of the law? By studying this phenomenon in a context where the scope for expressive gestures is limited, it is possible to gain a greater understanding into the often subtle ways in which legal teamwork is performed. This article draws on ethnographic field notes from courtrooms in Sweden to explore how defense lawyers, who have taken an oath to loyally represent clients, do this using (1) little dramatic productions, (2) little dramatic reductions, and (3) directions of teammates. These strategies are found to involve the use of props and the body in order to perform vicarious face-saving practices necessary to maintain professional face and teamface and to manage face threats. Each of these strategies reproduce and reinforce the emotional regime of the courtroom. A Goffmanian framework is used to show how emotions are managed in the courtroom in order to conform to the emotional regime. The findings therefore show how defense lawyers not only represent their clients juridically but also interactionally and introduces the new term “little dramatic reductions,” which is also relevant to other professions involving loyalty and teamwork.},
  author       = {Flower, Lisa},
  issn         = {0891-2416},
  keyword      = {impression management, emotions, law, sociology of emotions, teamwork, loyalty},
  language     = {eng},
  month        = {05},
  pages        = {1--29},
  publisher    = {ARRAY(0x93b6d48)},
  series       = {Journal of Contemporary Ethnography},
  title        = {Doing Loyalty: Defense Lawyers' Subtle Dramas in the Courtroom},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0891241616646826},
  year         = {2016},
}