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Portrait of Lisa Flower. Photo: Emma Lord.

Lisa Flower

Associate Professor | Associate Senior Lecturer

Portrait of Lisa Flower. Photo: Emma Lord.

Doing loyalty: subtle dramas in emotional courtrooms


  • Lisa Flower

Summary, in English

The courtroom work of defence lawyers has received surprisingly little sociological attention leading to the question: how do defence lawyers represent their client beyond the hard paragraphs of the law? By studying this phenomenon in a context where the scope for expressive gestures is limited, it is possible to gain a greater understanding into the often subtle ways in which legal teamwork is performed. Furthermore, the underlying emotional regime will become discernible. This article draws on ethnographic field notes from courtrooms in Sweden to explore how defence lawyers who have taken an oath to loyally represent clients, do this using (1) little dramatic productions, (2) little dramatic reductions, and (3) direction of teammates. These strategies involve the use of props and the body in order to perform vicarious face saving practices necessary to maintain professional face, teamface and to manage face threats. In these ways, defence lawyers are able to construct or undermine facts using nonverbal communication and emotion management. Each of these strategies reproduce and reinforce the emotional regime of the courtroom. The findings thus show how defence lawyers not only represent their clients juridically but also interactionally.


  • Sociology

Publishing year






Document type

Conference paper: abstract


  • Sociology (excluding Social Work, Social Psychology and Social Anthropology)


  • Emotion
  • law
  • impression management
  • emotion management
  • Goffman

Conference name

Sociologidagarna 2016

Conference date

2016-03-10 - 2016-03-12

Conference place

Gothenburg, Sweden