Boycott in America: How Imagination and Ideology Shape the Legal Mind
Gary Minda's critical study of boycotts in American law and culture focuses on how the word boycott has developed as a metaphoric, rather than as a rational or logical, form of reasoning. Minda first discusses the history, interpretation, and understanding of boycotts. He then turns to the role of metaphor in the interpretation of boycotts and of boycott law.Drawing on cognitive psychology and linguistic theory, Minda argues that the metaphors judges choose in describing boycotts determine how they view boycotts: "[F]rom the very first time the word boycott appeared in a reported decision in America, judges have used the word to signify inflammatory, as well as sublime, legal meanings and connotations. Judges have compared group boycotts to 'bloodthirsty tigers' and they have analyzed boycott activity as if it were a 'disease' infecting the internal biological system of the body. Judges have compared group boycotts to 'soapbox oratory,' and they have concluded that boycott activity is a 'special form of political communication.'"For lawyers, judges, and legal scholars, this book provides a clear and cogent examination of boycott law. Linguistic and cognitive theorists should find the book useful for illustrating how metaphor and cognitive theory can be used to analyze legal opinions. Historians will find new histories of boycott. Lay readers interested in understanding the role of boycotts in American law and society will find the book insightful.