Social Protest and the Absence of Legalistic Discourse: In the Quest for New Language of Dissent

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Legalistic discourse, lawyers and lawyering had minor representation during the 2011 summer protest events in Israel. In this paper we explore and analyze this phenomena by employing content analysis on various primary and secondary sources, among them structured personal interviews with leaders and major activists involved in the protest, flyers, video recordings made by demonstrators and songs written by them. Our findings show that participants cumulatively produced a pyramid-like structure of social power that is anchored in the enterprise of organizing the protest. Our findings explicate how the non-legalistic and even anti-legalistic discourse of the protest was formed, shaped and generated within the power relations of the protest, and how a pyramid of power produced a new poetics of protest that rejected the traditional poetics of state law. The power relations that generated the discourse regarding state law were embedded in socioeconomic stratification along the divide of center and periphery in Israel.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)735-756
Number of pages22
JournalInternational Journal for the Semiotics of Law
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2014

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2014, Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht.


  • Legal poetics
  • Pyramid of power relation
  • Social protest and law

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Law


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