The time and space of critical legal pedagogy

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Peer-Reviewed Research
  • SDG 4
  • Abstract:

    If the shortcomings, inadequacies and failings (together dubbed the “crisis”1) in legal education could be traced to one central problem, it would be the failure of law teachers and law faculties or schools to adapt to the present-day context - to recognise and respond to the complexity and character of living, knowing and doing in post-1994 South Africa. Following Achille Mbembe, we could say that South African legal education is trapped “at the centre of the knot”.2 To be at the centre of the knot, as I understand Mbembe, is to be disconnected or unmoored from one’s contemporary reality and location; and it arises primarily out of a failure to grasp shifts in the structure and consciousness of a polity and transformations in the legal and political order as “conceptual events” that thereby call for a new imagination: new definitions, new categories, new lines of enquiry, new practices and new mindsets.3 It is to be without a sense of time and space, without an account of the world and society today, lacking in the tools and vision to apprehend the specificity of the present as a construction of particular histories, practices and discourses.