Oñati Socio-Legal Series, Vol 9, No 5 (2019)

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The Voice Is the Message: Emotional Practices and Court Rhetoric in Early Twentieth Century Germany

Sandra Schnädelbach

Abstract


This paper illustrates that emotions were considered a central component of juristic work in German legal thought around 1900, showing how emotional practices of judges were reshaped when they were confronted with new socio-political demands in the early 20th century. It argues that judicial emotions were intensely reflected upon and used by German jurists, especially via court rhetoric and specific politics of voice. It puts forward an understanding of vocal performances as emotional practices that became particularly contested during the first decades of the 20th century. Whereas classical ideals of judicial conduct placed a premium on authority and distance in order to ensure objectivity, a psychologically informed and emotion-based interaction between judges and court attendees came to the fore: the use of rhetoric and the ability of showing, forming, and creating emotions gained relevance. The judge was not only to manage his own emotions, but was conceived of as an active engineer of emotions in court.

El artículo ilustra cómo el pensamiento jurídico alemán de alrededor de 1900 consideraba las emociones un componente central del trabajo judicial, y muestra cómo las prácticas emocionales de los jueces cambiaron a tenor de las nuevas demandas sociopolíticas de principios del siglo XX. Se argumenta que los juristas alemanes usaban intensamente las emociones judiciales. Se definen las actuaciones orales como prácticas emocionales que fueron especialmente contestadas en el siglo XX. Mientras los ideales clásicos sobre la conducta de los jueces ponían el acento en la autoridad y la distancia para garantizar la objetividad, después avanzó un modelo de interacción psicológicamente informada y basada en la emoción: el uso de la retórica y la capacidad de mostrar, formar y crear emociones ganó protagonismo. El juez ya no sólo gestionaba sus propias emociones, sino que se convirtió en un ingeniero activo de emociones en el juzgado.

Available from: https://doi.org/10.35295/osls.iisl/0000-0000-0000-1030

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