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Regurgitating the media image: towards a phenomenology of the ‘visible’ in criminal justice

Regurgitating the media image: towards a phenomenology of the ‘visible’ in criminal justice

Chapter:
(p.49) 3 Regurgitating the media image: towards a phenomenology of the ‘visible’ in criminal justice
Source:
Law in Popular Belief
Author(s):
Matthew R. DraperDavid Polizzi
Publisher:
Manchester University Press
DOI:10.7228/manchester/9780719097836.003.0004

This chapter discusses the problematic social construction of crime, law enforcement, and jurisprudence and highlights some of the consequences of these media portrayals for the public and students of this topic. It then sets out an ethic of phenomenological reduction of crime and the incumbent legal processes as a solution. The chapter draws upon the work of Jean-Luc Marion, Claude Romano, Werner Marx, James Mensch, and Immanuel Levinas, to describe how reducing the complex experience of crime, law enforcement, and jurisprudence opens new understanding and new potential for exploring the very complex nature of crime and the resulting legal processes. The reduction, in this case, entails an ethical argument to reduce what is given to those experiencing these processes and to us as observers. In the case of the one accused of crime, a reduction of their experience often breaks our understanding free of the “good-guy, bad-guy” portrayals in media. Likewise, a reduction of the experience and activity of law-enforcement and jurisprudence professionals highlights their professional, personal, and interpersonal complexities as they do their jobs. Finally, it proposes that this phenomenological ethic, when taken up by the media, would actually not only increase the portrayals of these processes in a more authentic manner, but increase the potential for sharing the dramatic stories of the criminal, law-enforcement, and legal professionals. This would serve to further their agenda of telling marketable and engaging stories by highlighting the incredible personal and interpersonal complexities of the people caught up in these experiences.

Keywords:   phenomenology, social construction of crime, media portrayal of crime, storytelling

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