Embodied trials: Tracing the consolidation of legal power across the spaces of the courtroom

Zuhri James
Department of Geography, University of Cambridge
January 2024


In situ explorations of courtrooms remain elusive across the bourgeoning field of legal geographies, despite providing an opportune site for examining how the law is differentially constructed, channelled and amplified across various socio-spatial settings. This paper, turning to Cambridge Crown Court, explores this dynamic relationship between the law and space. Mobilising feminist courtroom ethnographies which attune to the oscillation of affective intensities across human and non-human networks spanning the spaces of the courtroom, the paper illuminates the opaque and often fleeting moments within which legal authority is spatially consolidated. Particular attention is paid to questions of race which, despite being largely overlooked within existing scholarship, provide a critical avenue through which legal geographers can further expose the law’s operations as a mechanism of embodied exclusion, striated by the geographies of power and politics of difference. With such insight, the paper further elucidates how the law is neither placeless, ageographic nor administered from nowhere, but profoundly spatial, distorted and processual.

Author profile

Zuhri James is currently studying at Department of Geography, University of Cambridge. 


Legal geography, courtroom ethnography, feminist methodology, affect, geographies of power.

Embodied trials: Tracing the consolidation of legal power across the spaces of the courtroom by Zuhri James is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

Creative Commons Attribution

Based on a work at geoverse.brookes.ac.uk.

Original Papers - Geoverse

ISSN 1758-3411

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