Pub. date: 2007 | Online Pub. Date: September 25, 2007 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412952637 | Print ISBN: 9780761923879 | Online ISBN: 9781412952637| Publisher:Sage Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Symbols in Law
Although interpretation in legal discourse and practice could be restricted to the level of direct meaning, in practice it often leads to indirect meaning. If it appears that signs (linguistic or other), acts (for example, rituals), spaces, or images (including architecture) stand for something beyond their immediate, direct meaning, then they acquire symbolic potential. In legal texts, for example, the uses of metonymy, metaphor, and allegory often betray symbolic import. The symbolic meaning of the use of a phrase such as green belt land in environmental law and jurisprudence, for example, stretches beyond the mere denotation of the dominant color in a particular area. As it bears a visual and sensual image, the phrase may betray and aesthetically communicate the more or less melancholy need, felt by some, to defend a certain, perhaps idealized way of life, rural and traditional or Arcadian, as it is assumed to once have been, ...