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Title: Decision - making, legitimation, and power in Hot Bench
Authors: Mohd Muzhafar Idrus
Tun Nur Afizah Zainal Ariff
Hazleena Baharun
Harison@Hanisa Mohd Sidek
Keywords: Popular culture
Discourse analysis
Hot Bench
Issue Date: 7-Oct-2015
Publisher: Universiti Sains Islam malaysia
Abstract: Research by Fairclough (1992) and Van Dijk (2008), among others, have demonstrated that power can be illuminated through analyzing discourses. These discourses, according to Van Leeuwen (2007) and Wang (2006), have the precedence to control some of everyday, social, and public spheres. Following this premise, this paper examines how legitimation circulates power in selected decision-making scenes of a three-judge panel of a popular syndicated TV court show, Hot Bench. Premiered in 2014, Hot Bench draws over 2 million viewers in October 2014, jumping to staggering 2.5 million viewers in November 2014, making it one of the most watched syndicated legal reality TV programs in United States of America, with its second season renewed through 2017. Two objectives of this paper are set out; this paper firstly examines how organization and resolution of cases are generally settled and secondly, it analyzes two cases, defamation and personal property disputes. By analyzing conversations constructed by judges who deliberate verdicts in their chambers, this study which employs Van Leeuwen’s (2007) framework of legitimation concludes that the judges typically employ three types of legitimation- authorization, moral evaluation, and rationalization over the course of adjudicating TV court proceedings. This study ultimately contributes to the broader field of discourse analysis by presenting insights into the use of legitimation in legal reality TV programs and taps onto the belief that language, through discourse analysis, serves as a vehicle within which specific discourse community maintains power.
Appears in Collections:2015 International Conference on Language Education Conference (ILEC’15) Proceeding

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