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Legal Discourses

Marcus Galdia

The book approaches law from the legal-linguistic perspective. Its aim is to clarify the processes in which the meaning of law emerges in legal discourses. In order to enable the understanding of law as a discursive practice, professional and non-professional discourses are analyzed. With this aim in mind, the author focuses on the epistemological consequences of the discursiveness of law. Other relevant legal-linguistic operations such as legal interpretation or legal translation are scrutinized in terms of their theoretical prerequisites and their practical consequences. Their analysis also shows the potential and the limits of law as a social and as a linguistic phenomenon that is determined by its discursiveness. Finally, the book demonstrates how the discursiveness as the distinctive feature of law establishes the connection between the science of law and other social sciences.
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Part 4: Semiotics of Legal Discourse


Part 4:  Semiotics of Legal Discourse

4.1  Legal semiotics and legal discourse

Ontological and epistemological features of law that are linguistically expressed in legal-linguistic operations are reflected in the most general perspective in the legal semiotics. Many of the above mentioned problems related to the semiotic status of legal signs, reference and interpretation of legal signs, reification in legal language, use of arguments in law, narrativity and ‘épistémé’ can be synthesized in the theory of legal semiotics. Legal semiotics is therefore the most general theory of meaning in law. Its main challenge to the legal-linguistic perspective upon law is the question: Is discursiveness in law semiotically identifiable? Semiotical analysis of elements and operations that are typical of legal discourses may clarify this fundamental question. Some of the above examples have demonstrated that the legal discourse questions the semiotic status of signs. The debate about essentialism in law and other ontological questions show that this status is far from being clear for many jurists. Law seen from the semiotic perspective may be perceived by some jurists as burdensome rather than practically helpful. Yet, the semiotic perspective may provide more evidence for legal-linguistic hypotheses. At the first sight, however, law seen from the semiotic perspective does not look like law at all. This is the main problem that impedes the integration of this perspective into legal sciences.

Law consists of legal signs that are also the material proof of its existence. Semiotics as the...

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