Power-knowledge and critique in Australian legal education : 1987-2003

James, Nickolas John (2004) Power-knowledge and critique in Australian legal education : 1987-2003. PhD thesis, Queensland University of Technology.


While the word 'critique' appeared frequently in Australian legal education texts between 1987 and 2003, the meaning and the emphasis accorded critique varied widely. Michel Foucault's ideas about the close relationship between knowledge and power provide a theoretical framework within which this inconsistency of meaning and emphasis can be described, analysed and explained. Rather than monolithic, the discipline of legal education was by 2003 a dynamic nexus of distinct and competing discourses: doctrinalism, vocationalism, corporatism, liberalism, pedagogicalism and radicalism. Each of these six discourses was simultaneously a form of knowledge and an expression of disciplinary power within the law school. As a form of knowledge, each discourse accorded critique a different meaning and a different emphasis as a consequence of a range of historical, social and political contingencies. As an expression of power, each discourse was an attempt to achieve a set of objectives including the universalisation of a particular approach to the teaching of law and the enhancement of the status of a particular role within the law school. Critique, in a variety of forms, was a strategy employed by each discourse in order to achieve these objectives and to dominate and displace competing discourses.

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ID Code: 15910
Item Type: QUT Thesis (PhD)
Supervisor: Hocking, Barbara & Stacy, Helen
Keywords: Legal Education, Australian Law Schools, Michel Foucault, Discourse Analysis, Power-Knowledge, Doctrinalism, Vocationalism, Corporatism, Liberalism, Pedagogicalism, Radicalism, Critique, Critical Thinking, Critical Pedagogy
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Law
Department: Faculty of Law
Institution: Queensland University of Technology
Deposited On: 03 Dec 2008 03:52
Last Modified: 21 Jun 2017 14:40

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