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How Does Law Communicate?, Vol. 27 - 2020, No. 4

Guest Edited by Philippe-Joseph Salazar and Klaus Kotzé

“I, Dylann Roof”—White Voice V. the Force of Law

, pages: 369-379

Dylann S. Roof, white supremacist perpetrator of the Charleston massacre (2015) resolved to dismiss his lawyers and to represent himself. In the course of the proceedings he wrote extensively, keeping notes and diaries, and also writing directly to the Court, in addition to engaging in a dialogue with the judge. Using Bourdieu on the concept of “force of law” and Foucault on the concept of order of discourse, this essay proposes that Roof reclaimed his autonomy as a subject by developing a rhetorical strategy of communication, and thus affirmed his own voice within the “game” of judicial exchanges and positions of power. This essay serves also as a building block to understand white nationalist or supremacist discursivity.

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