When Law Goes Pop: The Vanishing Line Between Law and Popular Culture

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University of Chicago Press, Jun 28, 2000 - Law - 325 pages
The past few decades have seen the legal system entering American popular culture like never before, from the media blitzes surrounding high-profile trials to the countless television programs in which judges rule on everyday disputes. What, if anything, does this mean for the legal system itself? According to Richard K. Sherwin, it is a dangerous development—one that threatens to turn law into spectacle, undermining public confidence as legal style and logic begin to resemble advertising and public relations.

"Sherwin offers insightful, intriguing analyses of movies and other cultural products. His examination of legal discourse and popular culture will inform, enlighten, and even entertain."—William Halton, The Law and Politics Book Review

"[Sherwin's] knowledge of how media culture affects the courtroom is valuable, as is his rigorous examination. Can we prevent America's legal system from going 'pop'—losing its legitimacy by becoming just another part of popular culture? Given America's courtroom obsession . . . it's about time someone did some explaining."—Julie Scelfo, Brill's Content

"[A] brilliant analysis of the jury system in our media-saturated age. . . . [D]iscerning readers will see a truly integrative intelligence at work, proposing possible solutions rather than simply bemoaning problems."—Publishers Weekly

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When law goes pop: the vanishing line between law and popular culture

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"What images do we share?" asks former New York prosecutor Sherwin (law, New York Law Sch.) in this thoughtful and thought-provoking interdisciplinary study. "What stories do we tell ourselves and ... Read full review


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About the author (2000)

Richard K. Sherwin is a professor of law at New York Law School.

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