The (un)emotional law student

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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 on-going reconstruction of an emotional regime of objectivity using discursive emotion management strategies which create distance from emotions. A new paralingustic 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.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)295-309
JournalInternational Journal of Work Organisation and Emotion
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2014

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Sociology (excluding Social Work, Social Psychology and Social Anthropology)


  • law
  • objectivity
  • emotion management
  • emotion work
  • emotional regime
  • sociology


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