Courtroom Expressions: The Intermingling of the Semiotic and Material Regimes

Part of the Palgrave Socio-Legal Studies book series (PSLS)


In this chapter, we begin to explore the courtroom affective assemblage, by focusing specifically, although not exclusively, upon the semiotic regime, as it relates to the offence of rape. By exploring barristers’ perspectives, we gain original insight into how the system works and the factors that enable or inhibit the implementation of sexual offence law reforms and policy. This allows us to explore the processes and interactions between different components within the assemblage, to map their patterns, flows and outcomes and begin to make them visible. Of significance is how the law plays out in practice, how it is implemented through the interactive processes between heterogeneous components and moments of self-organisation and emergence. We note how barristers expressed a preference for smooth over striated space and for provisions/reforms produced by those who have an ‘intensive sense’ of the courtroom.


Courtroom assemblage Semiotic regime Sexual Offences Act 2003 Rape policies Myths Intensive sense 


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of LiverpoolLiverpoolUK
  2. 2.Institute for Applied Health ResearchUniversity of BirminghamBirminghamUK
  3. 3.Liverpool Hope UniversityLiverpoolUK

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