Bernard J. Hibbitts; Assoc. Dean for 

Comm. & Info. Tech.; U. Pgh. School of Law
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Papers: Coming to Our Senses: Communication and Legal Expression in Performance Cultures
This article examines how cultures having little or no experience with writing ("performance cultures") communicate and express legal meaning through the orchestrated use of the physical senses. Part II of the piece examines how each of the various senses - hearing (sound), sight, touch, smell and taste - is brought to bear in the cultural and legal experience of performance-based societies. Part III considers how and why members of performance cultures "perform", i.e. use and combine various sensory media in single messages, and describes how and why they use the same strategy in legal expression. It also considers how information is distributed among the different sensory components of performance and assesses what that distribution means for our interpretation of performative culture and law. The Conclusion of the paper offers some preliminary hypotheses concerning the deeper implications of performance for the cultural practices and legal values of the societies it dominates.

Published in 41 Emory Law Journal 873 (1992).
A copy of the full text of this article is available upon request.

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