Introducing readers to the study of law, media and popular culture, this text, using three original case studies, re-examines the assumptions underpinning existing research and suggests alternatives.
Arguing that the study of law, media and popular culture should be embedded in the sociology of everyday life, the author focuses on four specific topics, in which there is scope for further development. These are the facts that:
- the current literature in this field predominantly focuses on crime, neglecting the way the media portrays less spectacular, more run-of-the-mill legal topics
- fiction, primarily, has captured scholars' attention, with remarkably less being paid to representations of law, other than crime, in factual media
- textual analysis continues to be the preferred method in the study of law and the media
- the literature is dominated by a fear of corrosive media effects, while the potential of the media and popular culture to improve public legal knowledge, facilitate access to justice and promote legal change remains largely undocumented.
Exploring the often uneasy relationship between law and popular culture from specific socio-legal perspectives, including systems theory, semiotics of law and legal pluralism, this book is an essential read for those studying and researching in this area.
Table of Contents
Beyond Media Representations of Crime. How Visible is Law in Everyday Life? Theorising the Relationship between Law, Media and Popular Culture. Analysing Cultural Representations of Law: Content Analysis, Reception Studies and Media Production. Women's magazines, Cyberspace and DIY Law. Tort Tales: Selling the 'No Win No Fee' Formula on Daytime Television. Let there be Light: Improving Law's Visibility. Re-examining 'the Vanishing Line between Law and Popular Culture': Why do we Need a Line Anyway?
Lieve Gies is a lecturer in the School of Law at Keele University. Her main research interest is in the study of law and society from the vantage point of media and popular culture. Her current work seeks to understand law as a form of social communication.
'...this new study by Lieve Gies (Keele University in England) will fire the interest both of lawyers interested in how the media represents the law and of students of cultural and political and social change interested in how legal issues are represented...
This book comes at a good time because up to now commentary on this interface between the law and the media has been naïve. It tends to have described law programmes on television, or legal films and other such things as if they are a separate zone. Or on the other hand there have been books on media law and media-related legal issues, on the whole from legal specialists for other legal specialists. Gies rightly draws on a range of cultural theorists and sociologists to connect up the dots and, what is more, she intelligently adds a convincing theoretical dimension to what seems to be taking place on the plane of communication.
... readers will learn a lot from this timely study, and endorse any academic librarian’s decision to add it to the shelves of their library.' - Library Review, vol. 57 (2008)