1251 Developments in Popular Legal Culture II

WG Law and Popular Culture

Room: C5.01


Chair: Peter Robson

Sam Hillyard | Durham University, UK

David S. Wall | Leeds University, UK

Safe and legitimate use?  The case for private firearms ownership in civil society.




Four fatal shootings since 2010 by legal owners of firearms in the North of England has raised significant questions about gun control in the UK.  The paper seeks to generate a much broader debate about gun control in civil society.  It opens with specifics, looking at current legislation managing the legal ownership and use of firearms in the UK.  Traditionally, the UK been seen as possessing the strictest firearms legislation globally.  Recent reform, the first of significance since 1968, is evaluated in its scale and ambition before then overviewing the respective stances adopted by the shooting communities and regional police forces tasked with policy delivery.  The second task of the paper is to situate firearm ownership historically.  In the light of a reluctance within the service sector to deliver Home Office recommendations and growing public disquiet, the paper suggests that hunting culture is now a transgressive leisure pursuit in the UK.  Transgressive leisure (TL) examines the global theme of how power and deviance structure the ways in which leisure and 'free' time are experienced, regulated and stratified in society.  TL informed and exacerbated by the curious ambivalence between hunting culture participants and wider society.  That is, how (a) people’s fantasies about The Good Life, going off-grid, connecting with the wild are being stimulated by offline TV programmes such as Ray Mears and Bear Grylls, and the many reality TV survivalist programmes and merchandisers (e.g. Duck Dynasty), but also (b) the computer games etc. where survival skills are practices in a virtual environment.  This demand for experiencing ‘the wild’ authentically, viscerally and firsthand, clashes with the enhanced iron cage that is increasing framing access to and legalisation of the ‘wild.’  The conclusion suggests that both policy delivery and the very ownership of guns in a civilised society have become problematic.  Furthermore, the right questions are not being asked about the regulation of hunting cultures.  Critically, this involves taking into account this very ambivalence between social expectations and the status of hunting cultures in rural societies.



Nancy Marder | Chicago-Kent College of Law

What Hollywood, U.S.A. Teaches the World (Incorrectly) about American Juries













Stefan Machura | Bangor University

Consumption and effect of law-related media: Changing patterns?




The paper will be part of the "Developments in Popular Legal Culture II" panel, organized as part of the activities of the RCSL Working Group Law and Popular Culture.
The author has conducted a number of studies over recent years that investigate people's opinion on the courts, lawyers and the police. In this context, as one of the explanatory variables, consumption of law-related TV shows, and the influence of novels, TV and film has been tested.
The paper will investigate if there is a change going on in regards to the consumption and influence of those media.




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