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Eloquence and ReasonCreating a First Amendment Culture$
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Robert L. Tsai

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780300117233

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: October 2013

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300117233.001.0001

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Political Pathways

Political Pathways

(p.78) 4 Political Pathways
Eloquence and Reason

Robert L. Tsai

Yale University Press

This chapter argues that the structure and valence of juridic language are inevitably altered by dynamics beyond the four walls of the courthouse, moving questions of process to the foreground. To alter the social foundations of legal language and stimulate linguistic development, motivated actors must exploit available political pathways. Broadly understood, a political pathway is any means by which constitutional knowledge is accumulated, stored, presented, reproduced, or manipulated. A nonexhaustive list includes governmental institutions, media, civic organizations, litigation, and electoral processes. The objectives of control include intensifying and redirecting the dialectical interactions between the people and their political institutions, presenting new knowledge to decision makers and language innovators, securing the legitimization of preferred short-term policies and long-term values, altering the valence of governing terminology, and acquiring new modes of discourse in the service of long-term goals.

Keywords:   juridic language, courthouse, questions of process, social foundations, legal language, political pathway

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