Re-Imagining Equality: Meaning and Movement

23 Pages Posted: 26 Oct 2013

See all articles by Gillian Calder

Gillian Calder

University of Victoria - Faculty of Law

Sharon Cowan

University of Edinburgh - School of Law

Date Written: October 25, 2013


In this paper we argue that by using our bodies we can reflect on our thinking about legal concepts and tools, such as the notion of equality. We consider the ways in which our understanding of equality can be enhanced by re-imagining equality through the medium of physical performance. We also offer an articulation of how we tried to operationalise this more embodied approach to equality, exploring our collaborative experience of trying to present, in a conference setting, the impact of law upon the body, through physical theatre rather than the usual format of oral presentation of written work. In so doing, we reflect upon the experience of standing before an academic audience and using our bodies to enter into dialogue about contemporary debates on equality, with particular attention to this mode of engagement as feminist methodology and feminist critique. Our broader reflections about what we have learned through this project are tied to an understanding of the dynamism of both equality and inequality, and the acknowledgment that substantive learning can result by pushing our own comfort levels as to what is, and what should properly be, the subject, the object and the method of legal knowledge.

Keywords: equality, sex discrimination, performance, methodology, collaboration, dancing, movement

Suggested Citation

Calder, Gillian and Cowan, Sharon, Re-Imagining Equality: Meaning and Movement (October 25, 2013). Edinburgh School of Law Research Paper No. 2013/38, Available at SSRN: or

Gillian Calder

University of Victoria - Faculty of Law ( email )

PO Box 1700, STN CSC
McGill at Ring Rds (Fraser Bldg)
Victoria, British Columbia V8W 2Y2

Sharon Cowan (Contact Author)

University of Edinburgh - School of Law ( email )

Old College
South Bridge
Edinburgh, EH8 9YL
United Kingdom

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