Portrait of Professor Maria Drakopoulou

Professor Maria Drakopoulou

Professor of Law

About

Before becoming an academic Professor Maria Drakopoulou practiced criminal law as a barrister at the Athens bar. As an interdisciplinary legal scholar her primary areas of interest broadly lie in the field of law and the humanities, and critical legal studies. She has held a Jean Monnet Fellowship at the European University Institute, has had been a visiting scholar in Australia, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, and Sweden, and has held scholarly positions in Sweden, Finland, and the UK.

Professor Drakopoulou is currently co-holder of an AHRB-funded project to create a ‘Law and the Human’ research network, and is a member of the editorial board of the feminists@law e-journal. She is a Co-founder and Co-director of the University’s Centre for Critical Thought, which facilitates cross-disciplinary collaborations within and beyond the University of Kent, and Co-founder of the Clio: Law and History Research Group. Professor Drakopoulou is also Co-Director of the Kent Summer School in Critical Theory, which runs each year on the University’s Paris campus. 

Recent public engagement includes participation in the lecture series on critical thought organised as part of the Associate Artist’s outreach programme at Open School East, (OSE) Margate, and collaboration with the Paris Institute for Critical Thinking (PICT), a non-profit organization devoted to scholarly teaching and research in the English language.

Research interests

Her interests include feminist and political theory, continental feminist philosophy, post-colonial theory, history and historiography, legal philosophy and feminist jurisprudence. In her work she examines the relationship between law, bio-politics and sexual difference; feminist, legal and postcolonial epistemologies; legal critique, history and history writing; legal technique, justice and technology, genealogies of the legal human and feminist critique and legal ontology.

Teaching

Maria teaches undergraduates critical law, with a special interest in political and postcolonial theories. At postgraduate level she focuses on law and the humanities.

Professional

  • Editorial Board Member, feminists@law e-journal.
  • Editorial Board Member, Anthem Handbooks of Critical Thought (Anthem Press).
  • Member Society of Legal Scholars (UK).
  • Member Association of Critical Legal Scholars (UK).
  • Member American Association for the study of Law, Culture and the Humanities (USA).
  • External Examiner on the LLM at Kings College London.


Publications

Article

  • Drakopoulou, M. (2013). Clio’s Forgotten Consciousness: History and the Question of Feminist Critique in Law. Australian Feminist Law Journal 38:3-21.
  • Drakopoulou, M. (2013). Revisiting Feminist Jurisprudence: A Rehabilitation. feminists@law 3:.-.
  • Drakopoulou, M. (2008). Feminism, Governmentality and the Politics of Legal Reform. Griffith Law Review [Online] 17:330-356. Available at: https://doi.org/Not available.
  • Drakopoulou, M. (2007). Feminism and the Siren Call of Law. Law and Critique [Online] 18:331-360. Available at: http://www.springerlink.com/content/j7530351ng58u456/fulltext.pdf.
    Feminists have so often declared and celebrated the fecundity of the relationship between feminism and legal reform that critique of legal doctrines and norms, together with proposals for their reconstruction, have become the hallmarks of the modern feminist engagement with law. Yet today the long-cherished 'truth' about law's potentially beneficial impact on women's lives has started to fade and the quest for legal change has become fraught with problems. In responding to the aporetic state in which feminist legal scholarship now finds itself, this paper offers a recounting of the relationship between feminism and the politics of legal reform. However, in so doing, it seeks to neither support nor oppose these politics. Instead, it explores the historical contingencies that made this discourse possible. Utilizing Foucault's concept of eposteme, it demarcates the nineteenth century as the historical moment in which this discourse arose, and tracing the epistemic shifts underpinning the production of knowledge, locates it's positivities ad the interface of the time's episteme and the discourse of transcendental subjectivity that it endangered.
  • Drakopoulou, M. (2001). Equity, Conscience and the Art of Judgement as Ius Aequi et Boni. Law, Text and Culture 5:345-375.
  • Drakopoulou, M. (2000). The Ethic of Care, Female Subjectivity and Feminist Legal Scholarship. Feminist Legal Studies [Online] 8:199-226. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1023/A:1009266226936.
    The object of this essay is to explore the central role played by the ‘ethic of care’ in debates within and beyond feminist legal theory. The author claims that the ethic of care has attracted feminist legal scholars in particular, as a means of resolving the theoretical, political and strategic difficulties to which the perceived ‘crisis of subjectivity’ in feminist theory has given rise. She argues that feminist legal scholars are peculiarly placed in relation to this crisis because of their reliance on the social ‘woman’ whose interests are the predominant concern of feminist legal engagement. With the problematisation of subjectivity, the object of feminist legal attention disappears and it is in attempts to deflect the negative political consequences of this that the ethic of care has been invoked, the author argues, unsuccessfully. The essay concludes with suggestions as to how the feminist project in law might proceed in the wake of the crisis of subjectivity and the failure of the ethic of care to resolve it.
  • Drakopoulou, M. (2000). Women’s Resolutions of Lawes Reconsidered: Epistemic Shifts and the Emergence of the Feminist Legal Discourse. Law and Critique [Online] 11:47-71. Available at: http://www.springerlink.com/content/g3780644h4541p47/?p=07aafbc7707e4beba9b559c80f383e09&pi=2.
    This paper has arisen from my interest in questions ofsubjectivity of primary concern to contemporaryfeminist jurisprudence. Rather than side with anyparticular view represented in the debates surroundingthese questions, I have used Foucault''s concept ofepisteme to explore the tradition of feministlegal thought. By focusing upon seventeenth-centurywomen''s writings in which the earliest statementslinking law to women''s oppression are to be found, thepaper argues that knowledge claims about law''sassociation with women''s oppression are predicated notupon the positing of a sovereign feministconsciousness, but upon the specific positivities ofknowledge which existed at the time. Theunderstanding of the birth of the feminist legaldiscourse in terms of the specific conditions of itspossibility, although historically contextualised,raises questions about the hitherto seeminglyunassailable adherence to subjectivist epistemologywhich the current feminist engagement with lawmaintains.
  • Drakopoulou, M. (1997). Postmodernism and Smart’s Critical Feminist Project. Feminist Legal Studies 5:107-121.
  • Drakopoulou, M. (1992). Moralita della cura, differenza sessuale e teoria feminista. Iride Filosofia e Discussione Publica Quadrimestrale della sezione dell Instituto Gramsci Toscano 8:137-152.

Book section

  • Drakopoulou, M. (2017). Feminist historiography of law: exposition and proposition. In: Oxford Handbook. OUP.
  • Drakopoulou, M. (2014). Samuel Pufendorf, Feminism And The Question Of ‘Women And Law’. In: Drakopoulou, M. ed. Feminist Encounters With Legal Philosophy. Routledge-Cavendish, pp. 66-91. Available at: http://www.routledge.com/books/details/9780415497602/.
    Presenting feminist readings of texts from the legal philosophical and jurisprudential canon, the papers collected here offer an interdisciplinary and critical challenge to established modes of reading law. Feminist approaches to law usually take the form of either critical engagements with legal doctrine, legal concepts and ideas, or critical assessments of the effects that specific areas of law have upon the lives of women. This collection, however, although rooted in feminist legal scholarship, takes the established canon of legal texts as the object of inquiry. Taking as their common starting point the fact that legal texts are plural and open to multiple readings, all the contributions in this collection offer subversive, but supplementary, interpretations of the legal canon. In this respect, however, they do not merely sustain an array of feminist styles and theories of reading; revealing and re-appropriating the plural space of legal interpretation, they seek to open a hitherto unexplored arena for a feminist politics of law.
  • Drakopoulou, M. (2010). Women’s Resolutions of Lawes Reconsidered: epistemic shifts and the emergence of the feminist legal discourse. In: Golder, B. and Fitzpatrick, P. eds. Foucault and Law. Ashgate, p. .-.
  • Drakopoulou, M. (2009). The Ethic of Care, Female Subjectivity and Feminist Legal Scholarship. In: Conaghan, J. ed. Feminist Legal Studies. Routledge, pp. 199-266.
  • Drakopoulou, M. (2008). Feminism, Critique and the Reform of Law. In: Arioli, K., Cottier, M. and Kung, Z. eds. Wandel Der Geschlechterverhaltnisse Durch Recht?. Dike Verlag, pp. 41-56.
  • Drakopoulou, M. (2007). Feminism and consent: a genealogical inquiry. In: Hunter, R. and Cowan, S. eds. Choice and Consent: Feminist Engagements With Law and Subjectivity. London: Routledge Cavendish, pp. 9-38.
  • Drakopoulou, M. (2006). Of the Founding of Law’s Jurisdiction and the Politics of Sexual Difference: the case of Roman law. In: McVeigh, S. ed. Jurisprudence of Jurisdiction. London: Routledge-Cavendish, pp. 33-60.
  • Drakopoulou, M. (1994). Ghost Stories and Imperial Comparisons: reflections upon 19th Century jurisprudence. In: Fitzpatrick, P. ed. Nationalism, Race and the Rule of Law. Dartmouth, pp. 157-167.

Edited book

  • Drakopoulou, M. ed. (2013). Feminist Encounters With Legal Philosophy. Routledge-Cavendish.
    Presenting feminist readings of texts from the legal philosophical and jurisprudential canon, the papers collected here offer an interdisciplinary and critical challenge to established modes of reading law. Feminist approaches to law usually take the form of either critical engagements with legal doctrine, legal concepts and ideas, or critical assessments of the effects that specific areas of law have upon the lives of women. This collection, however, although rooted in feminist legal scholarship, takes the established canon of legal texts as the object of inquiry. Taking as their common starting point the fact that legal texts are plural and open to multiple readings, all the contributions in this collection offer subversive, but supplementary, interpretations of the legal canon. In this respect, however, they do not merely sustain an array of feminist styles and theories of reading. Revealing, and re-appropriating, the plural space of legal interpretation, they seek to open a hitherto unexplored arena for a feminist politics of law.
  • Drakopoulou, M. and Chryssostalis, J. eds. (2013). Special Issue: History, Space and Time. Australian Feminist Law Journal. Vol. 38. .
  • Drakopoulou, M. and Davies, M. eds. (2012). Special Issue: Gender, Equality and Othering in the Swedish Welfare State. Vol. 2. feminists@law.

Thesis

  • Kosaraju, A. (2017). Attrition in Cases Involving Crimes of Child Sexual Exploitation in England.
    This thesis is a critical exposition of attrition in cases involving crimes of child sexual exploitation in England. More specifically, this thesis offers an analysis of policy texts and empirical data, to interrogate the conditions of possibility for attrition in contemporary discourses on child sexual exploitation. It does so by employing a Foucauldian feminist theoretical framework and critical discourse analysis. It shows that knowledge statements within child sexual exploitation discourses around the notion of risk, about children as (un)knowing and as (a)sexual coupled with techniques of power such as the processes of assessing risk, the deployment of the rhetoric of consent and the requirement for an avowing subject, construct multiple subject positions which sexually exploited children come to occupy. It contends that specific rationalities underpinning the current forms of thinking within practitioners' discourse about the problem of attrition in child sexual exploitation cases in conjunction with the deployment within policy discourse of specific strategies for tackling crimes of child sexual exploitation, such as the disruption of perpetrators, lead to the de-prioritisation of prosecutions as a rational response to the crimes of child sexual exploitation. It stresses that children's experiences of sexual exploitation emerge into a discursive space enclosed by three axes namely: the fields of knowledge, processes of normalisation, and the modes of subject formation. It contends that these three axes enclosing the child sexual exploitation discursive space intersect at various sites within child sexual exploitation practice thereby producing the conditions in which attrition in these cases becomes possible.
  • Zivanaris, M. (2015). Becoming Otherwise: Piecing Together Foucault’s Ethical Project.
    Towards the end of his life, Michel Foucault turns his attention to antiquity where he locates an additional process by which the subject is constituted. Technologies of the self comprise an important contribution to the study of subjectivity, however Foucault employs these findings to set out towards a new direction, challenging the way we think about morality. Against a singular truth and a singular way of life as promulgated by western moral theories, Foucault understands his work as a toolbox capable of assisting in the exploration of multiple styles of living. Nevertheless, references to this new direction are not only scattered but also incomplete. Drawing upon his most recent understanding of subjectivity and the latest reformulation of his work, the dissertation attempts to piece together Foucault’s ethical project. In doing so, the dissertation will address two major limitations arising from Foucault’s ethical endeavour. As his ethical project draws upon technologies of the self, it has been misinterpreted as an aesthetic turn while his ethical findings have also been challenged as conceptually erroneous. However, the study indicates that Foucault’s ethical project comprises of two components: enhancing de-subjectification and the intensification of processes of subjectivation. By pulling together various elements of Foucault’s work, the dissertation indicates how he perceived the study of subjectivity as a counter-effect to processes of subjectification but also to the promotion of a singular way of life. Moreover, a study in Stoicism shows that Foucault was not wrong in identifying the care of the self in antiquity but most importantly, that his focus on the self is not an aesthetic turn but a call for transformation. The dissertation therefore proposes a reading of Foucault’s ethical project not as aesthetic but as relational and transversal.
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