Legal education and the 'idealistic student': using Foucault to unpack the critical legal narrative

Ball, Matthew J. (2010) Legal education and the 'idealistic student': using Foucault to unpack the critical legal narrative. Monash University Law Review, 36(2), pp. 80-107.

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It appears that few of the students holding ‘socially idealistic’ goals upon entering law school actually maintain these upon graduation. The critical legal narrative, which explains and seeks to act upon this shift in the graduate’s ‘legal identity’, posits that these ideals are repressed through power relations that create passive receptacles into which professional ideologies can be deposited, in the interests of those advantaged by the social and legal status quo.

Using the work of Michel Foucault, this paper unpacks the assumptions underpinning this narrative, particularly its arguments about ideology, power, and the subject. In doing so, it will argue this narrative provides an untenable basis for political action within legal education. By interrogating this narrative, this paper provides a new way of understanding the construction of the legal identity through legal education, and a new basis for political action within law school.

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ID Code: 50091
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Keywords: Foucault, legal education, student idealism, critical legal theory, critical legal narrative, power, HERN
ISSN: 0311-3140
Subjects: 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
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2010 Monash University
Deposited On: 04 May 2012 00:12
Last Modified: 08 May 2012 03:52

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