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The Demise of Diversity in Legal Education

Author(s): Margaret Thornton

This paper explores the contradictions arising from the simultaneous commitment to globalisation and diversity. The backdrop to the study is the marked shift to the right that has occurred in State and federal politics, emulating the global trend that has resulted in neo-liberalism supplanting social liberalism as the dominant ideology.

Neo-liberalism, or market liberalism, necessarily locates its subjects within the market where they are expected to vie with one another for survival and success.

Globalisation is one manifestation of neo-liberal competition policy which, along with corporatisation and privatisation, displays little interest in diversity politices, other than as a means of enhancing market image. Indeed, the feminine is constructed as incompatible with corporatisation and competition. Just as the political shift to the right has witnessed a dilution, if not a complete disbandonment, of formal social justice measures. there has been a tendency to dismantle feminist legal studies subjects, as well as to contract critical and theoretical content of all kinds. The paper considesr how neo-liberal and globalising imperatives are impacting on legal education in (1) the appointment of academic staff; (2) the shaping of the curriculum; (3) the profile of the 'consumers' of legal education; (4) the cartography of legal knowledge.

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Research theme: Human Rights Law and Policy, Law and Gender, Legal Education, The Legal Profession

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