Judges and Their Audiences: A Perspective on Judicial Behavior

By Lawrence Baum | Go to book overview

Chapter 2
JUDGING AS SELF-PRESENTATION
IN THEIR ESSENCE, the premises of my inquiry into judges and their audiences are simple:
1. People want to be liked and respected by others who are important to them.
2. The desire to be liked and respected affects people's behavior.
3. In these respects, judges are people.

This chapter elaborates on those premises and offers support for them. The first section examines human behavior in general, focusing on the first two premises. I draw from what the scholarship in social psychology has taught us about individuals in a social context, with an emphasis on self-presentation as a link between the social context and individual behavior. In the last part of the section, I apply these lessons to public officials.

The second section discusses judges. The section surveys judicial selfpresentation in its various forms. It then examines how judges' interest in the esteem of other people and their self-presentation relate to their choices as decision makers.


PEOPLE AND THEIR AUDIENCES

The work of social psychologists provides a number of ways to think about the impact of audiences on human behavior. The most useful for my purposes centers on the concept of the self.


The Self and Others

The terms self and selfhood are at the heart of a substantial body of scholarship in social psychology (Baumeister 1998). The meanings of these terms are complex and at least a little slippery. According to one definition, selfhood means “the thoughts, feelings, and behaviors that arise from the awareness of self as object and agent” (Hoyle et al. 1999, 2).

One key element of people's self-concepts—how they think about themselves—is self-esteem, the “positivity of the person's evaluation of

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