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Courses of mobilisation: writing systematic micro-histories on legal discourse

Verlauf von Mobilisierung: das Schreiben von Mikro-Geschichten in Rechtsdiskursen

Scheffer, Thomas


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Abstract Inside the offices, paper-workers produce and combine documents. Their desks are covered with paper: with files, bundles and briefs. And the production goes on. Solicitors dictate notes, secretaries type letters, and the legal clerks compile sets of evidence. It is exactly through these paper-trails that things are set into motion for the day in court. The analysis of courses of mobilisation provides some potentials for a cross comparative perspective. Crucial here is the hypothesis generating inventiveness of the researcher. Beyond case-related story-telling, there is the need to create analytical devices that open up the micro-perspective. The data logs suggested above are just a starting point on the way to formalisation and generalisation. It remains the most challenging task to change from the single-case perspective to a cross-case or even cross-cultural perspective. Tracing mobilisation is by no means a new approach in social science or discourse analysis. Many of the ideas presented here stem from the empirical work done in interactionist ethnography, ethno methodology and Actor Network Theory. Here, I would like to finish with some observations on the significance of this research methodology for socio-legal studies. How can it profit from this perspective? The proposed research design, first of all, implies a critical reflection on socio-legal studies and its dominant research foci. How is it that either talk or text, either the drama in court or the rules of the books occupied sociolegal attention? Does one, in the text-book manner, need to declare the primacy of either oral or written language in legal discourse? The analysis of mobilisation allows one to transcend these debates. Despite the affinities with workplace studies, ethno methodology, and Actor Network Theory, the analysis of mobilisation is not identical to these fields of research. Tracing mobilisation does not directly aim to grasp the social organisation of the law firm, the solicitor’s workplace, or the legal apparatus. It, moreover, focuses neither solely on local events, nor on the institutional talk. But what then does it offer? As I understand it, tracing mobilisation makes accessible representational projects in their socio-material course. The course includes various sites and layers of social praxis such as accumulative file-work, extended correspondence, or relatively self-driven events. This multi-sitedness directs the formation of legal discourse, and the involvement of subjects and objects. As a micro-sociologist, I was firstly interested in how court hearings are interactively accomplished. (text extract)
Thesaurusschlagwörter jurisdiction; jurist; lawyer; writing; Federal Republic of Germany; job; administrative practice; jurist; legal conclusion; work organization; lawyer; organizational culture; court
Klassifikation Verwaltungswissenschaft
Methode deskriptive Studie
Titel Sammelwerk, Herausgeber- oder Konferenzband Theory and method in socio-legal research
Herausgeber Travers, Max; Banakar, Reza
Sprache Dokument Englisch
Publikationsjahr 2005
Verlag Hart
Erscheinungsort Oxford et al.
Seitenangabe S. 75-89
Schriftenreihe Onati international series in law and society
ISBN 1-8411-3625-5
Status Veröffentlichungsversion; begutachtet
Lizenz Creative Commons - Namensnennung, Nicht kommerz., Keine Bearbeitung