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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.

Dramatic Subtlety: Exploring Emotions and Emotion Management in the Courtroom


  • Lisa Flower

Summary, in English

Traditionally, the law has been considered as devoid of emotions, however we now view the courtroom as an emotional scene. The emotion norms of the courtroom are thus interesting to explore and, as the courtroom work of defense lawyers has received little sociological attention, this will be the focus of this paper. The aim here is to show which emotions are present in the courtroom and how they are managed. The paper will then go on to explore what defense lawyers actually do in the courtroom, that is, the interactional and emotional strategies used to represent clients. The focus is thus on the interactional representation of clients, not just the juridical representation. By studying this in a context where the scope for expressive gestures is limited, namely the Swedish courtroom, it is possible to gain a greater understanding into the prevailing emotional regime of the courtroom and the ways in which legal representation is performed. This paper draws on ethnographic fieldnotes from courtrooms in Sweden and interviews with defense lawyers to explore courtroom emotions and the strategies used to manage them. The emotional regime in the courtroom is also discussed, outlining the emotional parameters of the courtroom.


  • Sociology

Publishing year




Document type

Conference paper: abstract


  • Sociology


  • impression management
  • emotions
  • law
  • sociology of emotions
  • loyalty
  • teamwork