Governing depression in Australian legal education : power, psychology and advanced liberal government

Ball, Matthew James (2011) Governing depression in Australian legal education : power, psychology and advanced liberal government. Legal Education Review, 21(2), pp. 277-301.


Legal educators in Australia have increasingly become concerned with the mental health of law students. The apparent risk posed by legal education to a student’s mental health has led to the deployment of a variety of measures to address these problems. By exploring these measures as productive power relations attempting to shape law students, this paper outlines how this government of depression is achieved, and the potential costs of these power relations. It examines one central Australian text offering advice about how students and law student societies can address depression, and argues that doing so not only involves students adopting particular practices of self-government to shape their legal personae, but also relies on an extension of the power relations of legal education. In addition, this paper will link this advice — which privatises the issue of depression, responsibilises individuals and communities, privileges psychological expertise, and seeks to govern ‘at a distance’ — to broader forms of social administration that presently characterise many Western societies. Doing so allows legal educators to reflect on the effects of their attempts to govern depression, and to consider new ways of altering the power relations of legal education.

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ID Code: 48123
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Additional URLs:
Keywords: depression, governmentality, legal education, Foucault, mental health, law student
ISSN: 1033-2839
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > STUDIES IN HUMAN SOCIETY (160000) > CRIMINOLOGY (160200) > Criminology not elsewhere classified (160299)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > LAW AND LEGAL STUDIES (180000) > OTHER LAW AND LEGAL STUDIES (189900) > Law and Legal Studies not elsewhere classified (189999)
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Law
Current > Schools > School of Justice
Deposited On: 18 Jan 2012 21:49
Last Modified: 02 Jan 2013 03:48

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