Abstract

Through interviews and courtroom observations in a case study done in collaboration with a community partner in two judicial districts in Minnesota, the authors extend the scholarly conversation about critical, activist research in business and technical communication and make pedagogical suggestions by studying two groups who contribute to the discourse about victim rights: judges who accept plea negotiations and make sentencing decisions and advocates who help victims contribute, through victim impact statements, their reactions as crime victims and their requests for certain punishments and conditions for the crime perpetrators. The authors identify the technologies of power used by each group to assert their disciplinary authority and trace how these assertions play out in the courtroom. They conclude that by capitalizing on the normative structures of impact statements, advocates may actually give victims more power. Such activist research might benefit research participants and enhance research methods.

Disciplines

English Language and Literature

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URL: http://digitalcommons.calpoly.edu/engl_fac/95