This article examines how semi-literate or largely non-literate cultures having little or no experience with writing ("performance cultures") communicate and express law and legal meaning through the orchestrated use of the physical senses. It first examines how each of the senses - hearing (sound), sight, touch, smell and taste - is brought to bear in the cultural and legal experience of performance-based societies. It then 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 creating law and 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 article concludes with some preliminary hypotheses concerning the deeper implications of performance for the cultural practices and legal values of the societies it dominates.
Bernard J. Hibbitts,
'Coming to Our Senses': Communication and Legal Expression in Performance Cultures,
Emory Law Journal 41
Available at: https://scholarship.law.pitt.edu/fac_articles/123