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Unformatted text preview: stories are told, including who may tell them, when interruption is permitted, which amounts and types of information are included and which are deemed irrelevant. In short, narratives--albeit narratives conforming to a particular set of implicit and explicit rules--pervade legal discourse. There can be no debate about whether narrative belongs in the law. Such an argument would begin from the faulty assumption that we have a choice about whether to permit narratives into legal discourse. Delgado calls this assumption the "empathic fallacy," which he defines as the belief that we can escape the screening of new stories through the medium of the old. That is, the dominant storyteller experiences himself, not as telling a story, but rather as speaking in the universal voice. The legal discourse we observe, create, and participate in is already ordered into narratives. It is just that some are more visible than others. Descriptively, the concept of narrative provides useful ways of thinking about how we order and understand our experience. But the danger of legal narratives is precisely that they do use familiar conventions and structures. When we tell law stories, then, we may be merely reproducing the conventional narrative, with its implicit, existing norms. This danger will always exist unless we explicitly acknowledge the normative function of counternarrative--to challenge the notion of a nonsituated, omniscient narrator, to expose false claims of universality and their web of underlying assumptions, and to open up the legal arena to otherwise silenced or marginalized voices. Narrative, like empathy, is a tool that can be used either to perpetuate the status quo, or to challenge it in order to move the law forward. To achieve the latter objective, extrinsic moral and political criteria must inform the use of narrative. SLHS Value File Oppression
Inferiority is a fate worse than death: it demolishes the meaning of life and dignity
Andrea Dworkin, Feminist Activist, INTER...
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This document was uploaded on 11/20/2013.
- Fall '13