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
Visual Communication in and about Law
Klaus F. Röhl
Images have become the primary form of meaning today. Law follows this iconic turn, but with a substantial gap. Today, as for most of Western legal history, language dominates the realm of law. Traditional communication about law as well as legal communication consists of spoken words and written texts and nothing else. The computer has evolved from a calculator and word processor to a multimedia device. With the invention of graphic displays, people who only want to communicate with words acquire, almost as a nonintended surplus, the capacity for the acquisition, processing, storage, and dissemination of pictorial information. Supply is creating demand. Consequently, electronic media will invite the actors of legal communication to use images, at least in addition to language. According to the famous dictum of Marshall McLuhan (1911–1980), the medium is the message. To put it more cautiously, communications media inadvertently contribute to reshaping how people understand and ...