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The legal image's forgotten aesthetics
Umeå University, Faculty of Arts, Department of culture and media studies.
2013 (English)In: International Journal for the Semiotics of Law, ISSN 0952-8059, E-ISSN 1572-8722, Vol. 26, no 3, 555-577 p.Article in journal, Editorial material (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Aesthetics and communications theories are often applied to art, media and popular culture but not within legal empirical (audiovisual) material—despite the fact that a judicial and legal process comprises a palpable utilisation of the visual as evidence of an historical reality. Based on four distinct Swedish cases, this study analyses the court’s reasoning, interpretation and use of (audio)visual evidence. Inspired by an embodied film theory, Benjamin’s thoughts on the technical-dramaturgical components of the camera and the later Barthes’ notion of the ‘punctum’, the article discusses how (audio)visual evidence cannot be disconnected from affective and aesthetic significances that ultimately can be taken to affect the perception of truth and (the crime’s) reality. The gap between theory and practice is debated and argued as beginning to co-exist; instead of seeing (visual) theory and (judicial) practice as a dichotomy, an attempt should be made for a conversation between seemingly different but in practice related areas of knowledge. The author’s aim is to suggest that photographic and filmic evidence has a particular significance in itself, which means that the relation between (judicial) interpretation and outcome should be considered within an affective and aesthetic dimension, rather than being placed and/or theorized outside of it.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Nederländerna: Springer Netherlands, 2013. Vol. 26, no 3, 555-577 p.
Keyword [en]
Picture, Film, Photography, Aesthetics, Affect, Emotions, Evidence, Law
National Category
Research subject
medie- och kommunikationsvetenskap
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-62891DOI: 10.1007/s11196-012-9280-yOAI: diva2:579454

First published online 2012: (DOI: 10.1007/s11196-012-9280-y)

Available from: 2012-12-20 Created: 2012-12-20 Last updated: 2015-02-23

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Ferrada Stoehrel, Rodrigo
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