Law and the Passions
Engaging with the underlying social context in which emotions are a motivational
force, Law and the Passions provides a uniquely inclusive commentary on the significance
and influence of emotions in the history and continuing development of
legal judgment, policy formation, legal practice and legal dogma.
Although the emotionality of the law and the use of emotional tropes in legal
discourse has become an established focus in recent scholarship, the extent to
which emotion and the passions have informed decision-making, decision-avoidance
and legal reasoning – rather than as simply an adjunct – is still a matter for
critical analysis. As evidenced in a range of illustrative legal cases, emotions have
been instrumental in the evolution of key legal principles and have produced many
controversial judgments. Addressing the latent influence of fear, hate, love and
compassion, the book explores the mutability of law and its transformative power,
especially when faced with fluctuating social mores. The textual nature of law and
the impact of literary forms on legal actors are also critically examined to further
elucidate the idea of law-making as both rational and emotional, and significantly
as an essential activity of the empathic imagination. To this end, it is suggested
that critical scholarship on law, the passions and emotions not only advances our
understanding of the inner workings of law, it constitutes a fundamental part of
our moral reasoning, and has the capacity to articulate the conditions for a more
dynamic, adaptable, ethical and effective legal institution.
This interdisciplinary book will be of interest to scholars and students in the
fields of law and literature, legal theory, legal philosophy, law and the humanities,
legal aesthetics, sociology of law, politics, law and policy, human rights, general jurisprudence
and social justice, as well as cultural studies.
- 2020 Julia J. A. Shaw
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