Nicola Barker speaks on ‘Feminism, Family and the Politics of Austerity’ (with accompanying powerpoint slides); Sinead Ring speaks on ‘The Pernicious Nature of Rape Myths and How They Continue to Affect Rape Prosecutions’; Maria Drakopoulou speaks on ‘Feminism, Tradition and the Question of Sexual Violence’; and Rosemary Hunter acts as discussant, commenting on all three papers.
Special issue on the Feminist Judgement Project (UK) includes introduction from Rosemary Hunter (Kent) (excerpt below) and four articles on using the judgements from the FJP in the classroom from Rosemary Auchmuty (Reading), Caroline Hunter & Ben Fitzpatrick (York) Anna Grear Helen Carr (Kent) & Nick Dearden (Manchester): The Law Teacher – Volume 46, Issue 3.
The feminist judgments differ from their originals in a variety of ways, both substantive and methodological. Substantively, the judgments implicitly draw upon various aspects of feminist legal theory, particularly feminist critiques of liberal legalism. So, for example, several of the judgments view the subjects of law as relational and interdependent rather than as atomised, self-interested and competitive individuals, 8 and seek to implement an “ethic of care” rather than the more traditional, masculine “hierarchy of rights”. 9 Similarly, some reject the liberal dichotomy which sees subjects either as autonomous agents or as vulnerable victims in need of protection, and assert the possibility of occupying positions of both autonomy and vulnerability, victim and agent, at the same time – a common feature of women’s lives. 10 Others tackle the public/private distinction, and challenge the state’s refusal to limit the power of those who control the private sphere from engaging in abuse, exploitation and exclusion. 11 Others rethink problems of “clashing rights” 12 and bring a different perspective to bear on these dilemmas which often involves showing how differing rights and interests which were assumed to be incompatible can actually be mutually accommodated. And some, like the Women’s Court of Canada, advocate a more substantive interpretation of “equality”, while others continue to appreciate the value of formal equality arguments in circumstances where even this basic standard of equal treatment is lacking.Another group of judgments draw upon Foucauldian critiques of medical or bio-power 13 to question the privileging of “expert” medical or welfare opinions, and the associated devaluation of the knowledge and experience of parents and carers, or the need for women to produce “expert” medical or psychiatric evidence to prove they have been harmed. The judgments also evidence the feminist theoretical concern with intersectionality – i.e. the need to acknowledge that women do not all share the same essential life experience, but that gender intersects with class, race, ethnicity, religion, sexuality and so on in different ways. 14 Thus, the judgments deal with the specific positions and experiences of older women, lesbians, and Muslim women in particular cultural contexts.[From Rosemary Hunter’s Introduction – not quite sure this is all open source – if not, check this link to an earlier version: “originally published in the Onati Socio-Legal Series: Rosemary Hunter, “Feminist Judgments as Teaching Resources” (2012) 2(5), OSLS [online] 47–62, available at http://ssrn.com/abstract=2115435.”
feminists@law has a new issue out, here. This version of the open access feminist legal journal housed at Kent includes an Editorial: Why We Oppose Gold Open Access in which Rosemary Hunter, Donatella Alessandrini, Toni Williams take on the recommendation of the UK Working Group on Expanding Access to Published Research Findings,Accessibility, Sustainability, Excellence: How to Expand Access to Research Publications (the Finch Report) (June 2012):
The Report focuses on the publication of articles in peer reviewed journals. It recommends a move to open access publishing in order to make the results of research undertaken in the UK more widely available to academic researchers, public sector and industry research users, and the general public. The model of open access publishing it advocates is so-called ‘Gold Open Access’, involving the payment of an article processing/publishing charge (APC) by authors.
The issue also includes “Persons, Property and Community” by Margaret Davies (Flinders). Here’s the abstract:
The terms ‘persons’ and ‘property’, and the connections between them, have been analysed very thoroughly in several disciplines, including law, philosophy, cultural studies, and anthropology. Like many technical terms, the legal concepts of persons and property are embedded in social practice and reflect its gendered discourse and practices. There is often cross-fertilisation of ‘legal’ and ‘everyday’ or social meanings, as well as a certain productive tension between them. This article introduces and reviews the person-property problematic, and considers how the discourse surrounding these terms and their relationship is changing under increased pressures from a more community-focused (and less individualistic) ethos, influenced in part by feminist thinking about relationality. The article is divided into three parts. First, I introduce some of the difficulties with the concepts of persons and property, and consider what they refer to, and how they are used. Second, I explain what I see as the relationship between these two ideas – how they are supposed to be diametrically opposed, and how they are in fact inextricably linked. Up to this point the article essentially draws pertinent points from a mountainous literature on the topic. The third and more substantial part of the paper takes the matter in a new direction. Here I try to capture new ways of thinking about property which in some ways loosen the property-person nexus, without breaking it altogether. In essence, these new approaches introduce values associated with the community, the environment, and our material futures into our thinking.