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Watching women: what illustrations of courtroom scenes tell us about women and the public sphere in the nineteenth century

Mulcahy, Linda (2015) Watching women: what illustrations of courtroom scenes tell us about women and the public sphere in the nineteenth century. Journal of Law and Society, 42 (1). pp. 53-73. ISSN 0263-323X

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Identification Number: 10.1111/j.1467-6478.2015.00698.x

Abstract

This article provides a revisionist account of the role of women in the legal system in the latter decades of the nineteenth century. Contrary to assertions that women played no role in trials other than as defendants and witnesses for most of our legal history, it suggests that women were much more active in the public sphere of Victorian law courts than previously envisaged. Drawing on depictions of trials in popular visual culture and fine art, it also reveals how images of the active female spectator challenged the emergence of new codes of behaviour which sought to protect the masculine realm of law from corruption by the feminine. It is argued that images have much to reveal about the socio-legal dynamics of trials and the ways in which fine art has been complicit in the construction and reconstruction of behavioural codes in the courtroom.

Item Type: Article
Official URL: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/journal/10.1111/(IS...
Additional Information: © 2015 The Author. Journal of Law and Society © 2015 Cardiff University Law School
Divisions: Law
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
H Social Sciences > HQ The family. Marriage. Woman
Sets: Departments > Law
Date Deposited: 11 Mar 2015 11:58
Last Modified: 30 Jan 2019 19:53
URI: http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/id/eprint/61168

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