Transnational Capital in Contemporary Legal Education: The Case of Portuguese Young Lawyers Trajectories' Between the National and the Global Arena.
Crisis, Healing and Re-Imagining. LSA 2021 Virtual Conference
Estados Unidos da América
Transnational capital is becoming central in the discussion about the effects of globalization on education and, in particular, on legal education. Studies from Dezalay, Garth, Madsen among others, emphasized the importance of social and economic capital in the transformation of the global legal arena introducing the Pierre Bourdieu framework. Our use of the transnational capital concept highlights its heuristic dimension. We intend to work out its potential for analysing the educational biographies of young lawyers in Portugal and the importance of transnational dimensions for these biographies. We see transnational capital as a form of capital within the Bourdieusian framework and we draw on the definition of Weenink (2008: 1092) who describes it as the “propensity to engage in globalizing social arenas”. On the other hand, we use the different forms of manifestation of transnational capital (see Gerhards et al. 2016), but we do not see these subforms as “new” forms of capital. Thus, we distinguish the several forms of transnational cultural capital, which can manifest through incorporated forms (language competences, cosmopolitan attitudes), institutionalised forms (international internships, diplomas) or objectivated forms (possession of foreign books and artefacts). On the other hand, we focus on transnational social capital which includes social networks that diffuse national borders. At the same time, we take into account the symbolic dimension of transnational capital which focuses on social recognition and prestige (see Bourdieu 1980). Drawing on Bourdieu, we further emphasize the convertibility of each capital form and the central role of economic capital in these conversion processes where possession is the first condition for the acquisition of all forms of capital (see Bourdieu 1979, 80). Using nineteen individual biographies we focus our analysis in life cycle turning points: like the choice of the faculty, the proceeding to specialized courses (LLM, MBA), the internationalization, the entrance to a law firm, international career, etc. Through the analysis we combine a double objective: i) the systematic review and operationalization of transnational capital, discussing the centrality of the concept to understand recent transformations in the field of legal education; ii) the potential of doing a case study, exploring in depth how the mechanisms of globalization operates in the field of legal education promoting new expectations on students and, inciting changes in faculties curriculum, exchange programmes, relations with civil society and the market in different layers, combining national and global platforms.
transnational capital,legal professions,legal education