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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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Praise for Law and Popular Culture


“While teaching an honors class on law and society, I found the Asimow–Mader book to be a constant source of quotable and relevant source material for classroom use. The chapters were especially nuanced in combining social science findings with insights from cinema studies. After retirement, I continue to find the chapters relevant in film lectures on legal themes to audiences of retirees. A second edition will make an original work only more relevant and up to date.”

—Edward Gross, University of Washington, Dept. of Sociology (Emeritus)

“Asimow and Mader convincingly argue that popular representations of law are crucial to how people understand and perceive the legal system. This is an important, social constructionist insight that is not stressed often enough in law schools. The book is very well organized and shines in its emphasis on cinematic techniques, using films as illuminating case studies through which to more fully understand the American criminal and civil justice systems. The authors’ cultural legal approach is exciting because it treats popular culture as just as worthy of study as the cases and statutes normally studied in law schools. This is the leading text for law and popular culture courses—enjoy!”

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