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Why ‘Law-and-Film' and What Does it Actually Mean? A Perspective

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This article's modest goal is to introduce uninitiated readers to the emerging, interdisciplinary field of law-and-film, while presenting them with the framework of one formulation of this new area of research. The article's first part opens with a brief overview of law-and-film scholarship and proceeds to outline my own suggested conceptualization of the law-and-film terrain. This framework defines three distinct perspectives on law-and-film that, I believe, capture much of the law-and-film enterprise. These perspectives rely on three fundamental premises: that some films' modes of social operation parallel those of the law and legal system; that some films enact viewer-engaging judgment; and that some films elicit popular jurisprudence. Parts B, C and D of this article present and explore these perspectives in more detail, illustrating them with specific law-film examples. The paper concludes with a brief reference to the benefits of using law-and-film in teaching.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: June 1, 2005

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