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Law and Popular Culture

A Course Book (2nd Edition)


Michael Asimow and Shannon Mader

Both law and popular culture pervade our lives. Popular culture constructs our perceptions of law and changes the way that players in the legal system behave. Now in its second edition, Law and Popular Culture: A Course Book explores the interface between two subjects of enormous importance to everyone – law and popular culture.
Each chapter takes a particular legally themed film or television show, such as Philadelphia, Dead Man Walking, or Law and Order, treating it as both a cultural text and a legal text.
The new edition has been updated with new photos and includes greater emphasis on television than in the first edition because there are so many DVDs of older TV shows now available.
Law and Popular Culture is written in an accessible and engaging style, without theoretical jargon, and can serve as a basic text for undergraduates or graduate courses and be taught by anyone who enjoys pop culture and is interested in law. An instructor’s manual is available on request from the publisher and author.
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The authors gratefully acknowledge the contribution to this book by Norman Rosenberg, DeWitt Wallace Professor of History at Macalester College, St. Paul, Minnesota. Professor Rosenberg was originally one of the collaborators on the first edition of this book and wrote significant parts of the text. We appreciate Professor Rosenberg’s contributions and his generous decision to allow us to use them in both editions of the book.

Paul R. Joseph was Professor of Law at Shepard Broad Law Center, Nova Southeastern University, in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Professor Joseph tragically died in 2003. Professor Joseph was one of the original collaborators on this book, but he had to withdraw because of other commitments. Professor Joseph wrote part of the chapter on the criminal justice system, and we are most grateful that he allowed us to use it in this book. We also acknowledge the contribution to Chapter 1 of Professor Joyce Penn Moser of Stanford University. Professor Moser planned to collaborate on the second edition of this book but was unable to do so.

We have discussed the material in this book with far too many people to name here, but we always benefited greatly from their insights. We would especially like to thank the users of the first edition of the book for their wonderful suggestions, including David Fisher, Kirk Junker, Scott Mulligan, Gary Peter, and Debbie Shapiro. If only we could have embraced all of their suggestions! We also gratefully ← ix | x → acknowledge the...

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