Reading: Instigating murder? Gendered inequities in the interrogations of a primary witness in a murd...

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Instigating murder? Gendered inequities in the interrogations of a primary witness in a murder trial

Author:

Manikya Kodithuwakku

The Open University of Sri Lanka, LK
About Manikya
Senior Lecturer, Department of Language Studies, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences
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Abstract

Women’s confrontation with the justice system is often replete with inequalities and inequities of gender. Approaching the law through cultural theories that focus on gender and power opens up an interdisciplinary field at the intersections of law and culture. Through a feminist reading of a judicial narrative of a murder trial at the appellate court in Sri Lanka, this exploratory article focuses on gender inequities that surface in the narrative of a criminal law case. Narrative, or storytelling, is the site of an important intersection of literature and law. Legal narratives imagine the likelihood of the causal elements of a crime, perceived and understood from each jurist’s/judge’s subjectivity. They draw on dominant cultural codes of behavior and thinking. Thus, legal narratives become a site of contest in which ideologies are reflected, reinforced, produced, and reproduced, and a discursive space in which gender subjectivities are constructed, deconstructed, and reconstructed to “explain” a narrative representation. The exploration of judicial narratives, through cultural and feminist theoretical lenses, offers insights into the gendered constructions of agency and morality in the judgment, while its language structures and terminology identify and position the woman as both agent and vulnerable, ultimately holding her responsible for the crime. The gendered discourse that produces the woman in this judicial narrative, and how the woman is positioned in the narrative foreground the gender inequities that emerge through/in judicial interpretations.
How to Cite: Kodithuwakku, M. (2022). Instigating murder? Gendered inequities in the interrogations of a primary witness in a murder trial. University of Colombo Review, 3(1), 119–134. DOI: http://doi.org/10.4038/ucr.v3i1.63
Published on 02 Aug 2022.
Peer Reviewed

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