"Non-Reformist Reforms" in Radical Social Change: A Critical Legal Research Exploration

Boston University Law Review Online, Forthcoming

11 Pages Posted: 16 Mar 2021

See all articles by Nicholas Stump

Nicholas Stump

West Virginia University - College of Law

Date Written: January 28, 2021


The contemporary Critical Legal Research (“CLR”) project exhibits much diverse and vital thought. However, this Essay draws, in particular, on CLR strains in the explicit Marxist- and socialist-steeped traditions. Such a CLR framework posits that a transformative approach to the legal and broader socio-legal research and analysis regime—i.e., as operationalized through praxis modes like CLR-influenced “radical cause lawyering”—can help achieve true systemic re-formations beyond the white patriarchal capitalist paradigm, as necessarily coordinated from local to global scales.

Part I of this Essay outlines the tenets of such a CLR framework. Thereafter, Part II introduces the concept of “non-reformist reforms,” which unlike traditional reforms, are explicitly designed to help transcend the hegemonic liberal capitalist paradigm while simultaneously building the “people power” required for such genuinely emancipatory transformations of the ecological political economy. Part II next puts forth an exploration of how CLR-influenced radical cause lawyering could support such non-reformist reforms through theory, practice, and praxis—and concludes by utilizing an ecosocialist-influenced Green New Deal as a concrete illustration of potential CLR-supported non-reformist reforms in action.

Keywords: Non-Reformist Reforms, Critical Legal Research, Radical Cause Lawyering, Ecosocialism, Ecofeminism, Green New Deal, Ecosocialist Green New Deal

Suggested Citation

Stump, Nicholas, "Non-Reformist Reforms" in Radical Social Change: A Critical Legal Research Exploration (January 28, 2021). Boston University Law Review Online, Forthcoming, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3775140

Nicholas Stump (Contact Author)

West Virginia University - College of Law ( email )

101 Law School Drive
Morgantown, WV West Virginia 26506
United States

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