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Ethics, aesthetics, and law: The Third Man

Studies in Law, Politics and Society

ISBN: 978-1-84855-378-1, eISBN: 978-1-84855-379-8

ISSN: 1059-4337

Publication date: 22 December 2008


The chapter explores the role of law in society and its relation to ethical conflicts as reflected through the prism of the film The Third Man. By focusing on the complexities of life in post-war Vienna, the film exposes dilemmas that prevail in ordinary times and in functioning democracies as well. Our analysis suggests that one way to manage these dilemmas and balance the conflicting loyalties and interests they raise is to sustain open channels between the law and other narrative-generating practices from which normative stances are evaluated. The law-and-cinema discourse is one such channel and The Third Man presents, in our eyes, the vitality of that channel, due to its rich aesthetical language and its unique representation of the ethical tensions (and their consequences) in the modern era.


Almog, S. and Reichman, A. (2008), "Ethics, aesthetics, and law: The Third Man", Sarat, A. (Ed.) Studies in Law, Politics and Society (Studies in Law, Politics, and Society, Vol. 46), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 169-201.



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