Law and Emotions

Since the onset of the modern period, law has taken on an increasingly important role in society. It forms and regulates all social practices, and, characterized by its social, political, economic, and cultural factors, it provides exceptional insight into societies, their conflicts, and their self-images. For the history of emotions, law – that is, legal thought, legislation, and practice – offers a valuable perspective on the question of how emotions have been historically conceptualized, and how these concepts and discourses have influenced legal action.

How have emotions been perceived by those in charge of drafting legal codes and administering justice? Did they stand in support or in opposition to social positions and opinions? What role do emotions play in the realm of penal law, and what kind of influence do they exert as excusatory devices, as tools of accusation, and as a moral authority? Which strategic, tactical, or "real" role do passions play in the court of law?

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