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Popularization and Knowledge Mediation in the Legal Field

The field of studying communication in law may be subsumed under the name of Legal Linguistics. Traditionally, this type of study of specialized communication has had its focus upon performative legal texts like contracts, statutes and judgments (Engberg, 2013). Studies of legal texts have thus often been focused upon communicative acts that may be termed internal to the legal institutions (cf.(Busse, 2000), i.e., such communicative acts that fulfil the core purposes of the legal institutions. In the field of science and technology beside this type of expert-expert communication also the communication of specialized topics between experts and non-experts has been a frequent object of study, especially under the headline of popularization (Calsamiglia & Van Dijk, 2004), both in traditional genres and, more recently, in new and Web 2.0 genres and modes. This has hardly been the case in the field of Legal Linguistics. Most studies of the intelligibility of legal texts have focused upon the intelligibility of statutory texts and thus on the aspect of achieving institution-internal communicative purposes. However, in a modern Western society also state institutions have to think of other asymmetrical communicative purposes like informing citizens about the law and influencing their behavior (Engberg & Luttermann, 2014), but also mitigating the skeptical attitude of citizens towards the law and the legal institutions (Preite, 2013).  

In the context of the XX. LSP Symposium we organize a colloquium for which we are looking for papers on this new string of research in the field of Legal Linguistics. We invite contributions presenting results of especially empirical studies of non-expert genres. Following the general multicultural approach of the LSP Symposia, we are interested in work on mediating legal knowledge from different (European) countries. Contributions to the colloquium may be in English, German or French, according to the preferences of the contributors. Studies of texts and genres from one country will be equally welcome as contrastive studies, with a view to promoting interdisciplinary and intercultural dialogue. More specifically, we are interested in reflection on the representation, construction and communication of knowledge intended for specific addressees (Ditlevsen, 2011; Kastberg, 2010; Luttermann, 2010) in traditional as well as ‘new’ non-expert genres, and on different language and textual levels (from complex constructs and phraseology to patterns of textual and visual organization).


Important information

> Important dates for this call:

Extended submission deadline: 25 April 2015

Notification: 30 April 2015

Abstract submission guidelines

Please submit an abstract of maximum 300 words via the Easychair system (https://easychair.org/conferences/?conf=lsp2015) under the Colloquium Popularization and Knowledge Mediation in the Legal Field by 25 April 2015.

Notification of acceptance will be announced by 30 April 2015.



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