Running Backs, Wolves, and Other Fatalities: How Manipulations of Coherence in Legal Opinions Marginalize Violent Death
Law and Literature, Vol. 16, pp. 127-159, 2004
47 Pages Posted: 4 Sep 2001 Last revised: 27 Nov 2014
Unlike what traditional scholarship teaches, narrative coherence is neither a unified nor, indeed, a coherent concept. In particular, it is not and cannot be a condition for narrative or argumentative validity. The reason is that coherence in fact breaks down to several different -- and competing -- performances and effects, relating differently to different audiences and cluing into different linguistic ideologies. This articles offers an analytical framework for the deconstruction of narrative coherence and its critique as a specific form of manipulation in judicial decisions and other forms of legal textuality.
Keywords: Rhetoric, narrative, narration, coherence, decision-making, interpretation, reader-response
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