Narrative and metaphor in the law


Narrative and metaphor in the law

edited by Michael Hanne, Robert Weisberg

Cambridge University Press, 2018

  • : hardback

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Includes bibliographical references (p.380-413) and index



It has long been recognized that court trials in the common law system, both criminal and civil, operate around pairs of competing narratives told by opposing advocates. In recent years, however, it has increasingly been argued that narrative flows in many directions and through every form of legal theory and practice. Interest in the part played by metaphor in the law, including metaphors for the law, and for many standard concepts in legal practice, has also been strong, though research under the metaphor banner has been much more fragmentary. In this book, for the first time, a distinguished group of legal scholars, collaborating with specialists from cognitive theory, journalism, rhetoric, social psychology, criminology, and legal activism, explore how narrative and metaphor are both vital to the legal process. Together, they examine topics including concepts of law, legal persuasion, human rights law, gender in the law, innovations in legal thinking, legal activism, creative work around the law, and public debate around crime and punishment.


  • Introduction Michael Hanne and Robert Weisberg
  • 1. Narrative, metaphor and concepts of justice and legal systems Greta Olson and Lawrence Rosen
  • 2. Narrative and metaphor in legal persuasion Michael R. Smith and Raymond W. Gibbs
  • 3. Narrative and metaphor in judicial opinions Simon Stern and Peter Brooks
  • 4. Narrative, metaphor and gender in the law Linda L. Berger and Kathryn M. Stanchi
  • 5. Narrative, metaphor and innovations in legal thinking Roberto H. Potter
  • 6. Narrative and metaphor in public debate around crime and punishment Dahlia Lithwick and L. David Ritchie
  • 7. Narrative and metaphor in human rights law Katharine G. Young and Bernadette Meyler
  • 8. Narrative and metaphor in creative work around the law Lawrence Joseph and Meredith Wallis
  • 9. Narrative and metaphor in legal activism Mari Matsuda.

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