Discourse, interests, and the law: Some pragma-legal reflections

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

Abstract

The present paper discusses the evolution of legal discourse as it is happening in a number of well-publicized American cases. Discussions of the First and Second Amendments to the US Constitution in relation to freedom of the press and the freedom to carry and use arms are followed by a general discussion of what it means to have a legal text considered as binding across the centuries. It is shown that legal discourse is pragmatically oriented, that is to say, its application and evolution are subject to the general evolution of society and its members, the people interacting with, and interpreting that discourse; this evolution is thus a typical pragmatically relevant process. Over the course of the centuries and years, accumulative gradual developments have often ended up totally altering the interpretation of certain laws and statutes – sometimes to the advantage, sometimes to the disadvantage of underprivileged segments of society, such as the Black population and people of different sexual orientations. The paper will discuss some characteristic historic and contemporary cases of this development.
Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Journal of Legal Discourse
Volume2
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)13-27
ISSN2364-8821
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2017

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Law
discourse
interpretation of the law
freedom of the press
sexual orientation
statute
amendment
constitution
Society

Keywords

  • legal discourse
  • value
  • interest
  • First and Second Amendments
  • time/space
  • pragmatics

Cite this

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title = "Discourse, interests, and the law: Some pragma-legal reflections",
abstract = "The present paper discusses the evolution of legal discourse as it is happening in a number of well-publicized American cases. Discussions of the First and Second Amendments to the US Constitution in relation to freedom of the press and the freedom to carry and use arms are followed by a general discussion of what it means to have a legal text considered as binding across the centuries. It is shown that legal discourse is pragmatically oriented, that is to say, its application and evolution are subject to the general evolution of society and its members, the people interacting with, and interpreting that discourse; this evolution is thus a typical pragmatically relevant process. Over the course of the centuries and years, accumulative gradual developments have often ended up totally altering the interpretation of certain laws and statutes – sometimes to the advantage, sometimes to the disadvantage of underprivileged segments of society, such as the Black population and people of different sexual orientations. The paper will discuss some characteristic historic and contemporary cases of this development.",
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Discourse, interests, and the law : Some pragma-legal reflections. / Mey, Jacob L.

In: International Journal of Legal Discourse, Vol. 2, No. 1, 04.2017, p. 13-27.

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

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