Sentimentalizing and Legal Language: Affect and Emotion in Courtroom Talk

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Image Credit: SFB 1171

Jonas Bens – 2017

In The Prosecutor v. Ahmad Al Faqi Al Mahdi, the International Criminal Court tried the destruction of UNESCO World Heritage sites as a war crime for the first time. In this case, the value of things in relation to the value of persons became the central issue. Based on courtroom ethnography conducted during the proceedings and informed by affect and emotion research, this article identifies the rhetorical practice of sentimentalizing persons and things as an important process of legal meaning-making. Through sentimentalizing, all parties rhetorically produce normative arrangements of bodies by way of emotionally differentiating the relevant persons, things, and other entities from and affectively relating them to each other. Sentimentalizing provides an affective-emotional frame in which to determine the degree of guilt and innocence, justice and injustice.

Title
Sentimentalizing and Legal Language: Affect and Emotion in Courtroom Talk
Publisher
SFB 1171 Affective Societies
Location
Berlin
Keywords
International Criminal Court (ICC), The Prosecutor v. Al Mahdi, UNESCO World Heritage, courtroom ethnography, law and emotion, law and affect
Date
2017
Identifier
ISSN 2509-3827
Relation
Citation
Bens, J. (2017). Sentimentalizing and Legal Language: Affect and Emotion in Courtroom Talk. Working Paper SFB 1171 Affective Societies 04/17.
Language
eng
Type
Text
Size or Duration
23