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date: 23 October 2020

Abstract and Keywords

A product of eighteenth-century Enlightenment thought, the modern New Rhetoric was frequently highly hostile to the forensic uses of persuasion. Legal advocacy was variously depicted as chicanery, dissimulation, and playing to the pit. It has consequently been a somewhat homeless subdiscipline in conflict with the line, rule, and compass of precedent conceived as the reason of law. Two consequences ensue. First, modern legal rhetoric has cohabited with, and developed as an aspect of, numerous other subdisciplines, ranging from communication studies to critical legal studies and from law and literature to law and psychoanalysis, semiotics, and film. Second, technological change, the plethora of new media, and the pervasive role of images in the expanded domains of law’s social presence have forced a return to the analysis of rhetorical delivery (actio), of the figures and images of forensic advocacy and dissemination in the variable sites of legally mediated social conflict.

Keywords: new rhetoric, law, dissimulation, critical legal studies, actio, advocacy, videosphere, new media

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