It Now Exists: The Birth of the Chilean Professional Legal Academia in the Wake of Neoliberalism

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This article analyzes the processes shaping the emergence of a professionalized legal academia in Chile. Through a case study informed by quantitative and qualitative evidence, the study shows that the control and orientation of a professional school is a contested space, where the interactions between the profession, the market, and the state shape the trajectory of the legal education field. The article argues that the neoliberal remaking of higher education of the 1980s created a regime that increasingly relies on performance indicators modeled on the paradigm of the research university, which have been used as an opportunity by law schools seeking elite status to increase their academic reputation through the formation of bodies of full-Time legal scholars. This new institutional environment has produced, however, an important degree of malaise among the new professional legal academics, the majority of whom resent that their research is increasingly swayed by the standards imposed by governmental or university-wide bureaucratic structures rather than by the needs of legal practice.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)971-998
Number of pages28
JournalLaw and Social Inquiry
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2 Aug 2023
Externally publishedYes


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