Ideology in the Language of Judges: How Judges Practice Law, Politics, and Courtroom Control

By Susan U. Philips | Go to book overview

raises the possibility of both systematic variation and great individual open-endedness in interpretive practices. 9

Recently anthropologists have begun to write about the way in which speech is connected to other speech as a relation among genres, using the term intertextuality to refer to such connections ( Briggs & Bauman 1992). Speakers and hearers make both regular and systematic, as well as new, connections between genres to produce or make sense of a given text, thus generating new interpretations of past textual productions. To understand how speakers and hearers relate genres in producing meaningful talk and in making sense out of talk, anthropologists have developed methods of comparative analysis of texts that in themselves create new forms of intertextuality or new relations among texts and genres. Thus, intertextuality can refer both to a process of meaning making in which we all engage and to a method of analysis used by anthropologists to better understand that process. Such analysis can focus on relations among multiple instances of the same genre of speech, relations among different genres of speech, and relations between different genre-ed renderings of the "same" events or content.

Some linguistic anthropologists, particularly those trained in the ethnography of communication ( Gumperz & Hymes 1964) demonstrate a strongly developed awareness that speech genres are socially ordered in their intertextual relations into domains and institutions of language use. 10 In their productive and interpretive practices, speakers and hearers draw on their awareness of such relations. Scholars in this tradition show the greatest methodological commitment to the analysis of multiple genres from within a single community that locates those genres within the larger sociocultural organization of the community. Representing genres in relation to one another and placing them in a broader sociocultural context involves a thick, rich intertextual analysis representing a level of social ordering of interpretive diversity intermediate between a single text and "the discourse" of an entire society. It is with this tradition that the present work is aligned.

Characterizations of such social ordering of discourse practices have only recently become concerned with issues salient in Marxist traditions, however--that is, with a social ordering seen as involving relations of domination and subordination shaped by political economic processes that include a residential community's articulation with the world outside it. 11 Without these Marxist concerns, anthropologists are addressing the constitution of culture, rather than of ideology.


Conclusion

The integration of Marxist and anthropological approaches to meaning in discourse in this work entails viewing judges as representatives of the state who promulgate a legal ideology that is hegemonic in the sense that it is imposed by them on those they engage in courtroom discourse to achieve a single salient sociolegal reality. But these same judges also constitute ideological diversity through the range of ways that the structuring of speech genres have been shown by anthropologists to contribute to multiple interpretive perspectives in language use: Different legal interpretations of due process rights are evident in the spoken and written legal genres devoted to the guilty plea. Different judges enact different legal ideological stances in the way they

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Ideology in the Language of Judges: How Judges Practice Law, Politics, and Courtroom Control
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Acknowledgments vii
  • Contents ix
  • Introduction xi
  • 1 - Ideology in Discourse 3
  • Conclusion 12
  • 2 - The Myth of the Trial Court Judge as Nonideological 14
  • Conclusion 25
  • 3 - Intertextual Relations Between Written and Spoken Genres of Law 27
  • Conclusion 46
  • 4 - Two Ideological Stances in Taking Guilty Pleas 48
  • 5 - Judges' Ideologies of Courtroom Control 87
  • 6 - Ideological Diversity in Legal Discourses 116
  • Appendixes 125
  • Notes 193
  • References 197
  • Index 203
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