School of Law

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  • Critical Approaches to Law

    The Critical Approaches to Law Research Group provides a space to study and develop multidisciplinary theoretical frameworks, using contemporary critical thought and continental philosophy, to investigate legal texts and practices. The group has particular interests in deconstructive legal theory, environmental theory and history, critical geography, aesthetics, and political economy.

    Under no circumstances should one pay attention to those who tell one: ‘Don’t criticize, since you are not capable of carrying out a reform’. That’s ministerial cabinet talk. Critique doesn’t have to be the premise of a deduction that concludes, “this, then, is what needs to be done.” It should be an instrument of those who fight, those who resist and refuse what is. Its use should be in the processes of conflict and confrontation, essays in refusal. It doesn’t have to lay down the law for the law. It isn’t a stage in a programming. It is a challenge directed to what is.

    If prisons and punitive mechanisms are transformed, it won’t be because a plan of reform has found its way into the heads of the social workers; it will be when those who have a stake in that reality, all those people, have come into collision with each other and with themselves, run into dead ends, problems and impossibilities, been through conflicts and confrontations – when critique has been played out in the real, not when reformers have realized their ideas.

    Foucault, Questions of Method, p. 236

    Past activities

    Reading group

    In 2013–14 the Critical Approaches to Law group held a monthly reading group which read Professor Stuart Elden’s The Birth of Territory.


    On the 14 June 2013 the group ran a one day workshop in collaboration with colleagues from the Department of Social Sciences titled Locating Resistance, Locations of Resistance: Within and Across the Disciplines. This conference hosted six guest speakers and saw a high level of academic engagement and scholarship across numerous issues including worker’s rights, conceptions of anarchy and resistance, as well as theoretical approaches to resistance.

    • Academic staff with related research interests

      Mr Chris Lloyd

      Senior Lecturer in Law, Subject Coordinator for the LLB Degree (All Undergraduate Programmes).
      Phone: +44 (0)1865 484907 | Email: | Location: Headington Hill Hall, H2.10

      Dr Yue Ang

      Senior Lecturer in Law
      Phone: +44 (0)1865 484904 | Email: | Location: Headington Hill Hall, H1.26

      Dr Andreas Kotsakis

      Senior Lecturer in Law
      Phone: +44 (0)1865 484915 | Email: | Location: Headington Hill Hall, H2.11