Noise, voice and silencing during immigrant court-case performances in Swedish district courts

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Noise, voice and silencing during immigrant court-case performances in Swedish district courts

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Publication Article, peer reviewed scientific
Title Noise, voice and silencing during immigrant court-case performances in Swedish district courts
Author(s) Elsrud, Torun ; Lalander, Philip ; Staaf, Annika
Date 2015
English abstract
This article argues that court-ritual unawareness, linguistic shortcomings and stereotypical images about non-Swedish otherness impair the position and acting space for immigrants in a Swedish district court context. Drawing on two ethnographically informed research projects focused on courtroom interaction during more than 20 trials dealing with ‘domestic violence’ and ‘street-related crime’, we claim that immigrant voices are often silenced due to taken-for-granted practices in court. Through analyses of interviews, performances, interpreted hearings and references to a desirable Swedishness, it is argued that situations are created where immigrant participants may experience their possibility of being understood as limited and their voices as being unheard. Such conditions are emotionally draining and may result in participants choosing silence over stating their case. This is a problem, not only within the individual court case, but also for the overall legitimacy of the court system and for issues of institutional trust among citizens.
DOI http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/1468796815588620 (link to publisher's fulltext)
Publisher Sage
Host/Issue Ethnicities;
ISSN 1468-7968
Pages 1-21
Language eng (iso)
Subject(s) Courtroom interaction
ritual
voice
silencing
symbolic interactionism
interpretation
legal legitimacy
principle of misrecognition
Humanities/Social Sciences
Research Subject Categories::SOCIAL SCIENCES
Handle http://hdl.handle.net/2043/19167 (link to this page)

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