Law and Justice as Seen on TV / Edition 1

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Law and Justice as Seen on TV examines the impact, significance, and social and political problems raised by the enormous onslaught of law-related television programming. The book weaves together the various strands -- media history and analysis, legal history and policy, and the national turn to the political right in the last decades -- that gave birth to this trend and have kept it thriving and growing. Beginning with the history of courtroom drama on TV in the late 1940s and reaching up to the present. Rapping analyzes the various entertainment series and genres that have so proliferated in recent years such as Law and Order and Cops. She then charts the complex and contested history of the coming of cameras to the courtroom, revealing how they led to televised trials and to the rise of Court TV. Finally, she examines major social issues -- gender violence, youth crime, family dysfunction, victims' rights -- which, with the rise of the courtroom as a major political and television arena, have come to be viewed largely as legal issues. The book concludes with an examination of the broad implications of this social and cultural trend, closing with some thoughts about its expansion, on television and in the actual legal arena, during the "war on terrorism" in the wake of 9/11.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Law and Justice as Seen on TV provides a comprehensive and sophisticated look at the ways law appears nightly in the living rooms of millions of Americans. Combining valuable insights about the workings of the television industry with an insightful argument about the criminalization of American life, Elayne Rapping has made a distinctive contribution to interdisciplinary legal scholarship. Her work shows how valuable the analysis of popular culture can be in illuminating some of the most important legal and social issues of our time."

-Austin Sarat,William Nelson Cromwell Professor of Jurisprudence and Political Science, Amherst College

"Accessible and lucid."

"Law and Justice as Seen on TV is deliberately provocative."

-Akron Beacon Journal

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780814775615
  • Publisher: New York University Press
  • Publication date: 11/1/2003
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 309
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Elayne Rapping is a Professor of Women's Studies and Media Studies at SUNY Buffalo and a nationally known media critic and analyst, whose work has appeared in The Village Voice, Newsday, The Nation, Cineaste, and other publications. Her recent books include Media-tions: Forays into the Culture and Gender Wars and The Culture of Recovery: Making Sense of the Self-Help movement in Women's Lives. She lives in Buffalo and Manhattan.

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Table of Contents

Introduction 1
I Fiction and Entertainment Genres
1 The Return of the Attorney-Hero: Politics and Justice in the Prime-Time Courtroom 21
2 Aliens, Nomads, Mad Dogs, and Road Warriors: Tabloid TV and the New Face of Criminal Violence 48
3 Signs of the Times: Oz and the Sudden Visibility of Prisons on Television 71
II News and Documentary Genres
4 Cameras, Court TV, and the Rise of the Criminal Trial as Major Media Event 103
5 The Politics of Representation: Gender Violence and Criminal Justice 138
6 Television and Family Dysfunction: From the Talk Show to the Courtroom 169
7 Television and the Demonization of Youth 202
8 Television, Melodrama, and the Rise of the Victim's Rights Movement 236
Conclusion: The Criminalization of American Life 252
Notes 273
Index 289
About the Author 309
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