This article is an enquiry into a distinct pattern of inconsistencies I observed within the life-story narratives of Crown Court clerks. These discrepancies relate specifically to the contrary ways in which the majority of interviewees spoke about the emotional demands and impact of their work at different points in their interviews. In order to understand what this pattern means and why it manifested in interviewees’ accounts, I draw on the theoretical frameworks of emotional labour and habitus from sociology, as well as key concepts from oral history literature, namely, composure, reflexivity and intersubjectivity. I argue that analysing the incongruities in court clerks’ memory-stories yields significant insight into their social and cultural worlds, as well as into the interview process and relationship. Author(s): Dvora Liberman Keywords: emotional labour; habitus; composure; reflexivity; intersubjectivity
This article discusses an oral history doctoral research project about the little known, yet critical role of the court clerk in Crown Courts. It is surprising that even though Crown Court clerks have been pivotal in trials of the most serious criminal offences, they have been neglected in legal scholarship. This research project has contributed towards filling an absence in the academic literature about the nature and function of their vital work between 1972 and 2015, and was carried out by Dvora Liberman, in partnership with the London School of Economics Legal Biography Project and National Life Stories, British Library.