"It's my culture, stupid!"A Reflection on Law, Popular Culture and Interdisciplinarity

Research output: Chapter/Conference proceedingChapterAcademic


When in the 1960s law lost its autonomy as an academic discipline and the door was opened to other disciplines, literature and literary theory were among the first jurists turned. Since then Law and Literature thrives because of the societal importance attached to investigating critical portrayals of law. The importance of interdisciplinary research for legal practice, however, is usually disregarded. This also goes for broader fields such as Law and the Humanities and Law and Culture. This is remarkable given the contemporary move in research away from the idea of high culture, i.e. the move from Dostoievsky and Shakespeare to Crime Scene Investigation and Boston Legal. To me as a practitioner, the portrayal of law in popular culture often seems farcical and sometimes even a perverse form of law-bashing, on the one hand, whereas, on the other hand, law is paradoxically often the great redeemer and that is often in sharp contrast to everyday legal reality. So if Alberto Manguel is right when he claims that ‘a culture is defined by what it can name’ an investigation in the cultural life (or lives) of law in a broad sense is called for, encompassing theory and practice. On the view that popular culture contributes to the mental frames with which we perceive law and society, I focus on ways in which popular culture is read jurisprudentially, on new visuality in the courtroom, and on methodological aspects of disciplinary co-operations of law and culture(s).
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationLaw and Popular Culture, International Perspectives
EditorsM Asimow, K Brown, D R Papke
Place of PublicationNewcastle on Tyne
PublisherCambridge Scholars Publishing
Number of pages20
Publication statusPublished - 2014

Research programs

  • SAI 2010-01 RRL
  • SAI 2010-01.IV RRL sub 4


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