Law & Culture

Law and CultureIn our Law & Culture column, you will find original works of fiction, reviews of a wide range of publications — not just conventional legal texts — as well as broader cultural forms such as films, TV shows, CDs, DVDs, art exhibitions and so on. The column links in with the Alternative Law Journal’s focus on law for the disadvantaged, human rights law and law reform.

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Sex, Culpability And The Defence Of Provocation

Penny Crofts

sex-culpability-and-defence-provocation-150pxDanielle Tyson;

Routledge, 2013; 230pp; $51.00 (paperback)

The partial defence of provocation is one of the most controversial doctrines within the criminal law. It has now been abolished in a number of jurisdictions. In Sex, Culpability and the Defence of Provocation, Danielle Tyson provides ample historical and contemporary evidence to justify the abolition of the defence. More disturbingly, she raises questions about whether or not law reforms will change the strength and persistence of the explanation that a woman who is murdered ‘asked for it’.

(2013) 38(1) AltLJ 64

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Law And Justice On The Small Screen

Gill Boehringer

Law-and-justice-screen-cover-150pxPeter Robson and Jessica Silbey (eds);

Hart Publishing, 2012; 472 pp; $55.00 (paperback)

The study of law in popular culture is booming. Surprisingly, while interdisciplinary studies of law in the cinema are common in academic books and journals, attention to law in TV representations have been relatively scarce. (Although the Alternative Law Journal has, over the years, tended to favour reviews of the latter.) Given that TV now is probably the major source of our day-to-day understanding of the world outside, not least law and the legal system, the paucity of substantial research into the meaning and effect of TV portrayals of legal actors and institutions is surprising.

(2013) 38(1) AltLJ 65

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Go Back To Where You Came From

Melody Song

GoBacktoWhereYouCameFrom150pxSBS TV, second season; hosted by David Corlett, featuring Angry Anderson, Catherine Deveny, Michael Smith, Imogen Bailey, Allan Asher and Peter Reith;

Screened in 2012; available online or on DVD, $29.99.

The premise of SBS’s Go Back To Where You Came From sounds simple enough: to take six (in this, its second season, reasonably well-known) Australians out of their comfort zones and trace the paths to Australia of refugees in order to expose the harrowing and sometimes deadly journeys taken in search of perceived safety and opportunity. Taking such an approach may appear to be trivialising an issue fraught with problems, but it does the job by appealing to our survival instincts and asking, ‘what would you do in my situation?’

(2013) 38(1) AltLJ 67

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Contemporary Perspectives on Human Rights Law in Australia

Richard Griffin

Paula Gerber and Melissa Castan, Contemporary Perspectives on Human Rights Law in AustraliaPaula Gerber and Melissa Castan (eds);

Thomson Reuters, 2012; $93.00 (paperback)

The latest contribution to the study of human rights law in Australia, this edited collection is a broad compilation by leading and up-and-coming human rights practitioners, academics and advocates. The book successfully combines human rights law-based analysis, education and policy recommendations. From the popular to the oft forgotten human rights issues, this book leaves few stones unturned.

An insightful and inspiring foreword by Michael Kirby sets the tone for the book, which explores, in an accessible and thorough manner, the history and evolution of Australia’s engagement with human rights on both the domestic and international levels. Importantly, this examination of the human rights landscape does not shy away from topical and controversial debates in contemporary Australia. From marriage equality to ‘boat people’ and the rights of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, this book looks beneath the shallow media-driven discourse and provides an up-to-date, in-depth analysis with historical reviews, statistical and legal analysis and policy ideas to strengthen Australia’s respect for and protection of human rights.

(2012) 37(4) AltLJ 293

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People on Country: Vital Landscapes, Indigenous Futures

Katie O'Bryan

Jon Altman and Sean Kerins, People on CountryJon Altman and Sean Kerins (eds);
Federation Press, 2012; $39.95 (paperback)

Indigenous Australians have been managing country for many thousands of years, yet the wider Australian community has only just begun to understand the important role that Indigenous knowledge can play in land management.

People on Country: Vital Landscapes, Indigenous Futures seeks to further this understanding by looking at natural resource management by Indigenous peoples on land which they own and manage, known generally as the Caring for Country movement. In order to do so, it documents outcomes of a project which took place between 2007 and 2010 in the Northern Territory called ‘People on Country, Healthy Landscapes and Indigenous Economic Futures’ as well as a complementary NSW project.

(2012) 37(4) AltLJ 294

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