Title: The (un)emotional law student

Authors: Lisa Flower

Addresses: Department of Sociology, Lund University, Box 114, 221 00 Lund, Sweden

Abstract: Objectivity is central to many professions, ensuring legitimacy via impartiality and the detachment of emotional involvement. This article conducts an analysis of the emotion talk about objectivity in order to reveal and re-attach the emotions involved. This is achieved by determining how objectivity is presented in a profession viewed to be particularly objective namely the legal profession. Thereafter the article targets the ways in which this construction of objectivity is discussed by those learning to become legal professionals, with the focal point on emotions. The results indicate an ongoing reconstruction of an emotional regime of objectivity using discursive emotion management strategies which create distance from emotions. A new paralinguistic marker is also identified: the emotional sniff. Emotions and emotion work are thus seen by law students as central to legal work. This article contributes to filling the current gap in literature regarding how objectivity and emotions are regarded in legal education.

Keywords: emotional regimes; emotion work; emotion management; professional objectivity; law students; feelings; legal profession; HRM; human resource management; human resources; human capital; higher education; legal eduction; legitimacy; emotional involvement; detachment; legal professionals; discursive strategies; emotional distance; paralinguistic markers; emotional sniff; emotions.

DOI: 10.1504/IJWOE.2014.065761

International Journal of Work Organisation and Emotion, 2014 Vol.6 No.3, pp.295 - 309

Received: 22 May 2014
Accepted: 21 Aug 2014

Published online: 18 Nov 2014 *

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