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    Pedagogies of justice : critical approaches to public legal education

    Wintersteiger, Lisa (2020) Pedagogies of justice : critical approaches to public legal education. PhD thesis, Birkbeck, University of London.

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    Public legal education is generally understood as a set of informal educational practices aimed at improving access to justice and social cohesion that predominantly focus on marginalised or disadvantaged populations. Public knowledge of law and its associated informational and educational practices provide a decisive locus for the legitimizing function of the normative ideal of the rule of law with its underpinning assumptions of security and stability. These ideals occlude a legacy of violence and political oppression that haunt the legal order, an erasure that is perpetuated when legal education is inattentive to its politicalphilosophical underpinnings. The pivotal role of public legal knowledge also carries the possibility of alternative critical engagements with justice systems that fundamentally interrogate the juridical-political order. This alternative possibility is explored in light of readings drawing from Critical Theorists of the Frankfurt School (Walter Benjamin, Theodor Adorno, Max Horkheimer), through whom we encounter a reading of the problem of law as evidence of the violent founding (and preservation) of any political community. Their insight not only helps us to think differently about the inherent instability of the liberal legal order, but also suggests alternative pedagogical approaches attuned to the danger of the positivistic and technocratic rationalities of law. What these thinkers share, above all, is a lack of faith in progress in the advance of human civilization and modern institutions of justice. The refusal of a linear historicism of law (as process, trial or as tradition becoming law) also engages a negative utopianism that offers a way to think about public legal education as a form of counter-education. This opens a space of contestation with the presuppositions of law and legal orthodoxies, as community educators attempt to work with and against law. A sustained concern of the thesis is to reconceive the public’s ability to analyse and critically engage with law and the justice system as fundamental to the constitution of the body politic, and to explore the development of counter-hegemonic educational strategies.


    Item Type: Thesis
    Copyright Holders: The copyright of this thesis rests with the author, who asserts his/her right to be known as such according to the Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988. No dealing with the thesis contrary to the copyright or moral rights of the author is permitted.
    Depositing User: Acquisitions And Metadata
    Date Deposited: 07 May 2021 14:27
    Last Modified: 15 Jun 2021 17:46


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