Narrative and Metaphor
in the Law
Stanford University, January 2016
‘Narrative and Metaphor in the Law’ was the fourth event in the series, which took place in late January 2016, hosted by the Law School at Stanford University; a volume of essays stemming from the symposium, edited by Michael Hanne and Robert Weisberg, was published by Cambridge UP in early 2018.
It has long been recognized that court trials, both criminal and civil, in the common law system, operate around pairs of competing narratives told by opposing advocates. In recent years, however, it has increasingly been argued that narrative flows in many directions and through every form of legal theory and practice. Interest in the part played by metaphor in the law, including metaphors for the law, and for many standard concepts in legal practice, has also been strong, though research under the metaphor banner has been much more fragmentary and the narrative perspective and the metaphor perspective have generally been employed separately. At the symposium and in this volume, for the first time, a distinguished group of legal scholars, collaborating with specialists from cognitive theory, journalism, rhetoric, social psychology, criminology, and legal activism, explore in dialogue form how narrative and metaphor are both vital to the legal process.
The areas of the law examined are: Concepts of Justice and Legal Systems (Greta Olson and Lawrence Rosen); Legal Persuasion (Michael Smith and Raymond Gibbs); Judicial Opinions (Simon Stern and Peter Brooks); Gender in the Law (Linda Berger and Kathryn Stanchi); Innovations in Legal Thinking (Roberto H. Potter and Robert Weisberg); Public Debate and Policy Making in Law (Dahlia Lithwick and L. David Ritchie); Human Rights Law (Katharine Young and Bernadette Meyler); Creative Work around the Law (Lawrence Joseph and Meredith Wallis); and Legal Activism (Mari Matsuda).
The book is currently available in hardback and e-book. A paperback edition should be out soon.