This study analyzes the ways in which legal ideology is represented in Chinese civil judgments. Recognizing Chinese civil judgments as a potentially significant site of legal ideology, we seek to document the means by which these judgments represent and manifest legal ideology.
Since ideology in discourse is not only inherent to text, but is also constructed by participants' common-sense assumptions of the interaction between participants and text and social context, the analytical framework adopted hi the present thesis is Fairclough's three-dimensional model. This model is three-dimensional hi that it consists of three levels, that is, at the levels of description, interpretation and explanation. The analysis focuses mainly on how ideology is defined hi the present thesis and how ideology is represented in Chinese civil judgments at the three levels.
Firstly, ideology is defined as basic principles of law that are accepted by the people as common sense. In the present thesis four basic principles are explored. The first principle is the basic doctrine of law that law is supreme and authoritative. The second principle is that judges must take facts as the basis when trying cases. The third principle is that judges must take law as the criterion when trying cases. This principle encompasses two aspects: trying cases hi accordance with Chinese civil law and trying cases hi accordance with Chinese civil procedure law. The last principle is rule of law.
Secondly, through an exhaustive analysis of the civil judgments from various aspects at the levels of description, interpretation and explanation, we can arrive at the conclusion that all these basic principles, or legal ideologies, can find good expression hi the civil judgments.
The findings of the study are helpful for the people to understand the ideology in judgments, and enhance people's language awareness and then- ability to read judgments and other judicial documents from a critical perspective. More importantly, this study demonstrates the feasibility of doing legal ideological study from linguistic perspective, which has rarely been found hi China so far.