Contesting the Self: Negotiating Subjectivities in Nineteenth-Century Ontario Defamation Trials
11 Studies in Law, Politics and Society 3-40 (1991)
38 Pages Posted: 9 Jul 2014
Date Written: 1991
Understanding the hegemonic quality of legal discourse requires us to view hegemony as unfolding in multiple sights of discursive practice. Thus, we must begin to analyze not only hegemonic legal discourse but hegemony in social sights of legal practice in order to see that legal practice is essential in processes of domination and social ordering. In this article, I explore the processes of political subjection and resistance as they manifest in witness testimony and judicial decisions from late nineteenth century defamation trials in Ontario. I argue that slander and libel suits were integral in constructing particular legitimate knowledges about class and gender as categories of social identity.
Keywords: Legal discourse, Legal history, Defamation trials
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