Arriving at Westminster’s Centre for Education Teaching & Innovation (CETI) in August 2020, I took up a post teaching on two of the foundation pathways modules. I am a qualified solicitor (non-practising) and also teach on the Legal Practice Course at Westminster Law School and have a teaching specialism in Business Law & Practice. More recently, I was awarded a PhD - focussed on legal education and social justice.
As noted above, my research interest is legal (higher) education and social justice. In 2020 I was awarded a PhD. The title of my doctoral thesis is: ‘Triple disadvantage: when othered students, study an othered course at an othered university – working-class, mature students’ discursive accounts of life on (and beyond) a two-year undergraduate Law degree’.
Taking an intersectional approach, my research looks at working-class, mature students’ (gendered and 'raced') constructions and experiences of their fast-track Law degree. It reports on (semi-longitudinal) research conducted at one ‘private’ Law school in the south of England. The study comprises a range of qualitative methods: semi-structured interviews of Law students and Law tutors, focus group discussions, discourse analysis of various policy texts, and informal observations of the practices at the Law school. My Foucauldian-informed analysis suggests that working-class, mature students in the study constructed their student experience via discourses connected to ‘intensity’, ‘student as consumer/investor/partner’, and ‘employability’ all of which were hegemonic, complex and shifting. In particular, the Law students resisted and negotiated the discourses - which impacted upon discursive (re)positionings and subjectivities.
The analysis of the data also suggests that the discourses worked to discursively (re)position the students as more or less powerful at different moments and in different contexts. These temporary (re)positionings of powerlessness had an impact on subjectivities to the extent of becoming further disadvantaged. The significance of this is that the nature of a two-year undergraduate Law degree and/or studying at a private university was found to exaggerate disadvantage for the already disadvantaged.