Academic Learning in Law
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Academic Learning in Law

Theoretical Positions, Teaching Experiments and Learning Experiences

Edited by Bart van Klink and Ubaldus de Vries

This timely book calls for a critical re-evaluation of university legal education, with the particular aim of strengthening its academic nature. It emphasizes lecturers’ responsibility to challenge the assumptions students have about law, and the importance of putting law in a theoretical and social context that allows for critical reflection and sceptical detachment. In addition, the book reports upon teaching experiences and innovations, offering tools for teachers to strengthen the academic nature of legal education.
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Chapter 4: Academic education and socialization

Anja Böning


The discussion on legal educational matters reveals an odd discrepancy: On the one side it represents a ‘long runner’ regarding legal and education policy matters, whilst on the other side it could hardly have attracted scientific interest in the past. So, up to this point, law students’ socialization still describes a rather poorly illuminated subject matter. Topics such as socialization and discipline within educational institutions are regarded as subjects classically attributed to educational science or sociology. According to Brun-Otto Bryde the timidity to look (or to let someone look) closer at legal education’s very own formation praxis can be attributed to its refusal to deal with the factual status quo of law studies, in order to protect it from a possible delegitimation. In Hans-Werner Prahl’s research papers, which deal with university examinations, this point is argued in a similar way. According to Prahl, examinations represent rule and authority and sciences stabilize them by tabooing academic exams themselves. The current state of research regarding educational, learning and socialization processes in law studies is also unsatisfactory, because university socialization still is a relatively unexplored research area. This particularly regards the university daily routine and examination practices of various study subjects. Questions such as how to characterize the social formation program in law, how students deal with the legal habitus, and in what kind of appropriation processes it amalgamates with individual biographies and dispositions remain most widely unexplained.

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