Document Type

Article

Comments

46 Stanford Law Review 607 (1994)

Abstract

Storytelling, a form of narrative legal scholarship describing events of legal significance from the perspective of "outsider" writers, is fast becoming a fixture in the pages of law reviews and on the shelves of law libraries. The rapid rise in the popularity of narrative scholarship has led some critics to question its value, while prompting others, most notably Professors Daniel Farber and Suzanna Sherry in last April's Stanford Law Review, to call for objective standards to evaluate the merit of narrative works. Intended in part as a response to Professors Farber and Sherry, this essay asserts that storytelling's value is in expanding legal debate and driving social transformation by illuminating legal issues from the perspectives of nomic groups frequently excluded from political and academic debate, particularly gays and lesbians. To illustrate his thesis, Professor Eskridge draws heavily on stories culled from the controversy surrounding the armed forces' policy of excluding gays and lesbians from their ranks, arguing that stories recounting travails encountered by lesbians, gays, and women service members can advance political debate and ameliorate unfounded prejudice and discrimination. The tenets of social constructionism would accord storytelling even greater value, Professor Eskridge contends: By recounting episodes of social transformation produced by the defiant resistance of oppressed individuals or groups to continued subordination or exclusion, storytelling can provide a catalyst for the destruction of repressive policies such as the military's gaylesbian exclusion.

Date of Authorship for this Version

1994

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Law Commons

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