William Twining: The Man Who Radicalized the Middle Ground
International Journal of Law in Context, Forthcoming
19 Pages Posted: 4 Feb 2021
Date Written: January 19, 2021
William Twining is one of the most influential figures in academic law and legal education. His trailblazing contribution to the broadening of legal education and scholarship has been pivotal. The publication of his intellectual memoir, Jurist in Context (Cambridge University Press, 2019, hereafter ‘JIC’) is therefore especially welcome not only for the light it sheds of the development of his ideas, how he came to be at the centre of it all and the obstacles he encountered, but also for what it tells us about where we have come from, why we are as we are, and what might and should be achieved in the future. JIC bears rich and valuable testimony to the considerable changes in UK legal education and scholarship since the 1960s and ‘70s. However, JIC also raises major questions about the success of the movement to broaden legal education and scholarship, the efficacy of some of its axiomatic assumptions and the continuing confines (intellectual, political etc.) within which law schools and legal academics operate. While JIC helps us to understand William’s values and politics, it does not provide a full account. I point to two facets of William’s intellectual ‘context’ that may help us to understand his underlying values and politics.
Keywords: legal education, law schools, legal scholarship, intellectual history, legal history, legal biography, jurisprudence, philosophy of law, law and society, socio-legal studies, law in context, academic lawyers, law and politics
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