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Oxford Studies in Anthropological Linguistics #17: Ideology in the Language of Judges: How Judges Practice Law, Politics, and Courtroom Controlby Susan U. Philips
Synopses & Reviews
A study that will appeal to any reader interested in the relationship between our language and our laws, Ideology in the Language of Judges focuses on the way judges take guilty pleas from criminal defendants and on the judges' views of their own courtroom behavior. This book argues that variation in the discourse structure of the guilty pleas can best be understood as enactments of the judges' differing interpretations of due process law and the proper role of the judge in the courtroom.
Susan Philips demonstrates how legal and professional ideologies are expressed differently in interviews and socially occurring speech, and reveals how bounded written and spoken genres of legal discourse play a role in containing and ordering ideological diversity in language use. She also shows how the ideological struggles in a given courtroom are central yet largely hidden or denied. Such findings will contribute significantly to the study of how speakers create realities through their use of language.
Studying the language of judges in courtrooms, the author of this text demonstrates that they are not impartial arbiters of due process, but are influenced by their own political-ideological stance and interpretation of the law. The effect on their interaction with defendants is shown.
A text that will appeal to any reader interested in the relation of language to the law, or vice versa, Ideological Diversity in Courtroom Discourse focuses on the guilty plea as both a distinct procedure and a dialogue constrained by boundaries. The book argues that, although judges uniformly see themselves as formally and impartially ensuring the constitutional right to due process, a considerable variety exists in the interactions between judges and defendants.
Susan Philips relates in much detail how this diversity stems from the judges' various interpretations of written law, from their personal attitudes toward control of the courtroom, and from their individual and politicized views regarding due process. She also shows how the ideological struggles in a given courtroom are central yet largely hidden or denied. Such findings will contribute significantly to the study of how speakers create realities through their use of language.
Table of Contents
1. Ideology in Discourse
2. The Myth of the Trial Court Judge as Nonideological
3. Intertextual Relations between Written and Spoken Genres of Law
4. Two Ideological Stances in Taking Guilty Pleas
5. Judges' Ideologies of Courtroom Control
6. Ideological Diversity in Legal Discourse
Appendix A: Social Background Questionnaire
Appendix B: Career History Interview
Appendix C: Rule 17, Arizona Rules of Criminal Procedure: Pleas of Guilty and No Contest
Appendix D: Plea Agreement
Appendix E: Transcription Notations
Appendix F: Four Changes of Plea / Guilty Plea Transcripts
Appendix G: Refusal of Plea Agreement in Aborted Sentencing Transcript
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