7th Global Meeting on Law and Society. Abstracts of the papers presented by Members of the Oñati Community (PART 3).
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The Interview as Text. Sharyn Roach Anleu and Kathy Mack (Flinders University)
The interview is often a preferred method to study emotion. Interviews can enable a far-reaching flow of consciousness, allow scope for reflexivity and provide opportunities for probing. However, the interview is not just an extraction of information. The process is a dynamic and interactional co-production and may entail emotional work for the interviewer and interviewee. Interviews also have limitations. They are conducted in an artificial situation, in which interviewees provide accounts, even justifications, of their actions and approaches. The interviewer/researcher cannot always gauge the alignment between an interviewee’s description of a past situation and what they felt in the moment. We wish to explore two issues:
(i) Interviews about emotions can be difficult for those in legal settings, eg judicial officers, who frame their work as rational or cognitive, not emotional or feeling. Interviewees may not be used to thinking about emotions or may regard them only to be avoided or suppressed. Some judicial officers may perceive questions about emotion as personal and so intrusive. The interviewer might not be able to discern whether judicial officers are reticent to talk about emotion or whether they lack the language to do so.
(ii) Interviews have an important temporal dimension. An interview occurs and is recorded at one point in time. Later it is transcribed, and much later analyzed, perhaps several times in different ways and possibly by different readers/researchers. The interview as narrative or conversation becomes text. Its interactive nature shifts from interviewee and interviewer to the researcher(s) -- necessarily the interviewer -- who interprets the interview transcript, identify themes, and codes the text. This research process can be more akin to historical research that generates insight about emotion from documents.
Can the jihadist women speak? The construction of self-identity under totalitarian semantics. Wanda Capeller (Centro de Estudos Sociais da Universidade de Coimbra)
This reflection aims to analyze the complex conditions that determine desubjectivation process by which self-identity and self-image of European young women are reconstructed under the impact of totalitarian semantics and ideological rhetoric, what led them to join a pre-modern way of life in ISIS’s patriarchal society. In terrorist community women have an ambiguous social role, on the one hand, a subaltern role of wife and mother devoted to the domestic space, and on the other hand, an active role in the community, notably as a combatant woman. After the fall of ISIS, in 2019, those women are living in Syria and Turkey’s refugee camps, asking to return to their origins countries. These women are being heard by European political and judicial authorities? I will argue on two points, as follows: 1) jihadist propaganda as a powerful dispositive allowing the formation of subaltern subjectivity; 2) voiceless women facing European hesitant “return policies” to the rescue of jihadist women.
What Are Victim Impact Statements For? Susan A. Bandes (DePaul University College of Law)
In Payne v. Tennessee, the US Supreme Court upheld the admission of victim impact statements (VIS) on the ground that they provide valuable information to the sentencer. In the three decades since, two additional rationales for VIS have become ascendant: most prominently, a therapeutic rationale, and more recently, a public education rationale. In this article, I expand upon my critiques of the informational and therapeutic rationales in light of a growing body of empirical evidence about how VIS affect both sentencers and crime victims. Focusing on the powerful and viral VIS delivered at the Larry Nassar guilty plea hearings and the Brock Turner trial, I consider whether VIS can be defended as a vehicle for informing the public about the impact of crime—particularly crimes that are underenforced or poorly understood. I conclude that ultimately the current VIS regime arises from and reinforces an individualistic model of crime that is not well-suited to illuminating the scope or consequences of criminal behavior, particularly in multi-victim cases like those of Larry Nassar. More generally, I argue that there are fairer and more robust models for achieving the informational, healing, and educative goals that victim impact statements are meant to serve, and that these models may well require decoupling those goals from the narrow ambit of the criminal justice system.
Suggested Citation: Bandes, Susan A., What are Victim Impact Statements for? (June 08, 2022). 87 Brooklyn Law Review 1253 (2022). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=4118829
The Interplay Between Customary Law on Inheritance in Southern Cameroons and the Human Rights Principle of Gender Non-Discrimination. Mirabelle Chi Epse Okezie (University of Tasmania)
Like most Sub-Saharan African countries, Cameroon runs a plural legal system which consists not only of western legal models introduced by the French and the British during colonialism, but also of municipal legislation and human rights principles, all existing side by side with a fragmentary system of norms based on native laws and customs – customary law. Among these rules, the relationship fostered between customary law and human rights principles is particularly characterized by tension, friction, and conflict, resulting from their divergent features. Customary law in Cameroon is imbued with a discriminatory structure that is highly patriarchal and disadvantageous to women, while human rights values, on the other hand, are imbued with humanity and usually advocate egalitarian principles that presuppose gender equality and non-discrimination between men and women. Under customary law in Southern Cameroons for example, women are regarded as legal minors who can only enjoy usufruct rights in property but can neither freely contract nor acquire and dispose of property, thus disempowering them in the area of inheritance.
Efforts to discourage such discriminatory customary laws include the adoption of the repugnancy and the incompatibility tests (Section 27(1) of the Southern Cameroons High Court Laws) in the enforcement of customary law by the ordinary courts in Southern Cameroon. However, these have only led to a divergence in customary laws rather than solve the problem. What the ordinary courts recognize as customary law is different from what the society including unofficial customary courts considers as such. This is because, when the ordinary courts reject the enforcement of a particular custom which is said to conflict with human rights values, nothing is done to further prevent the continuous observance of such customary law in society. Thus, because customary justice in Southern Cameroon is equally exercised by unofficial customary courts (local chiefs empowered to settle disputes using native laws and customs) which tend to be more widely used in most rural and poor urban areas, the observance of discriminatory customary laws and practices remains a huge problem and warrants attention. This article focuses on the interplay between customary law on inheritance in the Southern part of Cameroon and the human rights principle of gender non-discrimination.