Of Comics and Legal Aesthetics: Multimodality and the Haunted Mask of Knowing
Like law, comics use a hierarchical vocabulary of signs, symbols and icons which is synonymous with the symbolic order of intersubjective relations, and ‘produced in the dialogue and discourse all about us: in the things that we read and say, in the music we listen to, and in the art we grow up with’ (Manderson 2003: 93). Such visual aesthetic forms increase awareness of ‘a multiplicity of dissident perspectives which stimulate ‘free play of the imagination and assist in our understanding of the world through our senses’; with the corollary that ‘the communicative power of this sensory information allows for richer intellectual and emotional engagement with objects and concepts as they really are’ (Shaw 2019: 28). Comic books and the increasingly popular graphic novel format routinely engage with topical issues relating to legality, order, morality and justice, yet have been largely neglected within legal scholarship. Accordingly, it is proposed that many of the constraints and limitations which are imposed on legal discourse can be overcome by embracing an alternative way of conceiving legal categories and constructs.
Citation : Shaw, J.J.A. (2019) Of Comics and Legal Aesthetics: Multimodality and the Haunted Mask of Knowing. Law & Society Review, 53(4), pp.1382-1395.
ISSN : 1540-5893
Research Institute : Institute for Evidence-Based Law Reform (IELR)
Peer Reviewed : Yes
- Department of Law