With(Out)Law: Critical Conversations on Law in Society
The Centre for Law and Society in the Faculty of Law at the University of Cape Town hosts a seminar series that aims to trouble normative conceptions of law in society, drawing on the thinking and experience of legal practitioners, scholars, activists and prominent social commentators. With students as its primary audience, the series, titled WithOutLaw: Critical Conversations on Law in Society, offers provocative inputs and lively exchanges that aim to productively engage with the role of law and its impact on contemporary social justice issues.
The next seminar in the series will be held on Wednesday 24 May, from 13h00 to 14h00, in the Law Faculty at UCT, on the topic Lands of Belonging? Transforming spacial inequalities. This is a conversation at the interface of law and society, and is one that questions how the law (dis)allows societies to exist - more especially those who are/were meant to be unseen (domestic workers, immigrants etc). We would like the inputs to focus on land and belonging, and the ways in which land desegregation and powerful competing interests impact the creation of inclusive and equitable urban spaces.
Our guest speakers Mandisa Shandu and Nkosikhona Swart Booi from Ndifuna Ukwazi will draw on NU’s direct experiences with the Reclaiming the City campaign, and reflect critically on the relationship between spatial injustices, belonging, and demands for more equitable urban housing, planning and development.
The second seminar in the series was held on Wednesday 29 March on the topic Gender violence and the in/applicability of law. The purpose was to generate critical engagement with the potential and limits of national laws and policies and their applications, in addressing gender-based violence in South Africa and on university campuses in particular.
The first of these conversations, titled ‘Turning to Law: Perspectives on Legal Activism for Social Justice’, took place at the Bo-Kaap Museum on 10 December 2016 and featured Mandisa Shandu (Ndifuna Ukwazi Law Centre), Nurina Ally (Equal Education Law Centre), Kerry Williams (Webber Wentzel) and Amelia Vukeya Motsepe (Senior Legal Consultant). Facilitated by CLS’ Research Associate, Melanie Judge, and with an audience of local and international visiting scholars, this excellent seminar looked at how NGOs have been effective in using the law to work towards the defence and advancement of socio-economic rights in South Africa. The conversation engaged with the limitations and potential of legal activism in effecting social change towards an equitable and just society and reflected on gains that have been made through the use of the law.