“They Should Be Here With Us”: Beginning with Communities to Reimagine the Role of Lawyers in Support of Systemic Change

LLM Thesis by Britney de Costa (2017), Windsor Law.

This thesis explores the roles lawyers might play to support community-led advocacy work towards systemic change from the standpoint of community advocates with lived experience of poverty. Using feminist standpoint theories and Foucault’s knowledge/power nexus to analyze findings from group meetings and in-depth interviews conducted with Voices Against Poverty, a grassroots advocacy group in Windsor, Ontario, this thesis looks at how we might reimagine how lawyers support their communities and mitigate the effects of their power by transforming their relationships. This thesis provides one example of how beginning from the standpoint of communities can help us to better understand the ways lawyers can engage with grassroots advocacy groups in a way that resists, rather than reinforces, power hierarchies.

Read full thesis here.

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