1st Edition

Interactional Justice The Role of Emotions in the Performance of Loyalty

By Lisa Flower Copyright 2020
    220 Pages
    by Routledge

    220 Pages
    by Routledge

    Interactional Justice explores how defence lawyers accomplish their role in interaction with others and highlights the ways in which they do loyalty work – constructing and conveying loyalty in emotionally and interactionally constraining situations.

    By drawing on extensive ethnographic fieldnotes and interviews with lawyers, this sociological study brings their loyalty work to life and reveals to the reader the unwritten rules of emotional interactions. It presents how defence lawyers socially construct their duty of loyalty by negotiating informal and implicit professional and social expectations. This accomplishment demands emotion work and face work in order to perform a role which includes defending clients accused of heinous crimes and “losing” the majority of cases. As the defence team is central to this, the ways of doing teamwork are illustrated. Teamwork is also found to be essential between legal professionals to ensure that a criminal trial runs smoothly. All of this takes place within an overarching framework – the emotional regime of law – which aims to uphold the illusionary dichotomy between rationality and emotionality thus quietening the role of emotions.

    Loyalty and teamwork are features of many professions, workplaces, and aspects of social life making this book an essential tool for understanding strategies for their accomplishment. Focusing on courtroom emotions and interactions, the book suggests how trials can be made more user-friendly and provides guidance for newly qualified legal professionals. The use of ethnographic fieldnotes and interviews provides scholars and students in the social sciences, teaching, law, and medicine with a colourful monograph which reveals and explains emotion and interaction rules. It also makes this book a useful tool for teaching and understanding qualitative research methods.

    1. Lawyers and Loyalty;  2. Legal Systems and Loyalty;  3. The Emotional Courtroom;  4. Loyalty and Disloyalty;  5. The Facework of Defence Lawyers;  6. The Emotion Work of Defence Lawyers;  7. The Teamwork of a Criminal Trial.


    Lisa Flower is a researcher and senior lecturer in sociology and criminology at Lund University, Sweden. Her research interests include the hidden emotion and interaction rules in courtrooms and the legal profession.

    "It is a significant contribution to the sociological, criminological and broader bodies of literature. It offers something original, something rigorous and something intimate."

    Clare Gunby, The British Journal of Criminology, 2021; https://doi.org/10.1093/bjc/azab051

    "In short, Interactional Justice represents a major contribution not only to symbolic interactionism, but also the sociology of emotions, the ethnographic method, criminology, and the psychological study of the court system. It is highly recommended for anyone with interests in these areas."

    Leonard A. Steverson, Symbolic Interaction, 2021; https://doi.org/10.1002/symb.554