The more things change, the more they stay the same: Explaining stratification within the Faculty of Advocates, Scotland

Angela L. Melville, Frank H. Stephen

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Abstract

Since the 1970s the legal profession has become increasingly diversified. However, the inclusion of traditionally excluded social groups has not eradicated inequalities. This paper attempts to explain the contradiction between increasing diversification and persistence of inequalities by examining changes in the structure of the Faculty of Advocates in Scotland. We observe significant changes over the last 40 years, especially the increasing numbers of women entering the Faculty. Yet, women still face discrimination, and their success has largely been at the expense of working-class aspirants. We argue that existing theoretical perspectives, namely feminism and the perspectives of Bourdieu, as well as new insights offered by Beck, are insufficient to account for stratification within the legal profession. We call for a new theoretical perspective which accounts for both social change and persistence of inequalities, and suggest that such an approach is best offered by a feminist reworking of Bourdieu. © 2012 Taylor & Francis.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)211-235
Number of pages24
JournalInternational Journal of the Legal Profession
Volume18
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2011

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