Unsettled facts: on the transformational dynamism of evidence in legal discourse
journal contributionposted on 2023-06-09, 03:47 authored by Alexander V Kozin
In this article I conduct an examination of discursive identity of a legal ‘object’ in the course of its treatment by various figures in the legal process. The need for this examination arises from a widespread concern about the effects of creating ‘records’, i.e., transforming spoken discourse by way of documentation into ‘evidence’. After a brief review of the current discussion about this phenomenon, I argue that the identity of textualized evidence is upheld by way of references to other texts, all of which create a field of signification within which an object under discussion (evidence) shows different facets without however losing its identity. In order to support my argument, I offer an analysis of ethnographic data pertaining to a specific criminal case. My objective for the analysis is to trace the status of a specific discursive identity after its enunciation during an attorney–client conference. My findings indicate that textualization should be understood not as a form of fixity for discourse, but rather as semantic pivot that provides for different ‘argumentation figures’ within the referential grid of the legal case.
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