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Law and rhetoric: Critical possibilities

Harrington, John ORCID:, Series, Lucy ORCID: and Ruck-Keene, Alexander 2019. Law and rhetoric: Critical possibilities. Journal of Law and Society 46 (2) , pp. 302-327. 10.1111/jols.12156

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What contribution can rhetoric make to socio‐legal studies? Though now a byword for deception and spin, rhetoric was long identified with the very substance of law and politics. Latterly radical scholars have foregrounded an understanding of law as rhetoric in their polemics against legal formalism, but it needs to be complemented by a critical perspective which goes beyond simple revivalism, taking account of rhetoric's own blind spots, inquiring into the means by which some speakers and listeners are privileged and others excluded or silenced. The critical potential of legal rhetoric is tested here through a review of the developing law on mental capacity and the best interests of people with disabilities in England and Wales. Much of what is at stake there is properly grasped in terms of a politics of speech: who is addressed, who can speak, who must speak, and how are they represented in judicial and media discourse.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Law
Publisher: Wiley
ISSN: 0263-323X
Funders: Wellcome Trust
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 27 September 2019
Last Modified: 05 May 2023 06:40

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