Crafting Prefigurative Law in Turbulent Times: Decertification, DIY Law Reform, and the Dilemmas of Feminist Prototyping

Feminist Legal Studies 31 (1):17-42 (2023)
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Abstract

This article explores the challenge of developing a feminist law reform proposal to decertify sex and gender based on research conducted for the ‘Future of Legal Gender' project. Locating the proposal to decertify within a do-it-yourself, prefigurative approach to law reform, the article asks: Can a law reform proposal be both instrumental and radical? Can a proposal take shape as a viable legislative text and as a more subversive intervention to unsettle and reimagine gender’s relationship to law? This article explores this at two levels. First, it considers the ontological challenges of developing a controversial law reform proposal in terms of its realness (or fictiveness), contours, and temporality, turning to ‘slow law' as a credible way of approaching radical reform. Second, it explores the design-based challenges of legal prototyping—foregrounding questions of legitimacy, participation, and purpose, which arise in designing a decertification law. At the heart of this discussion is the relationship between representation and enactment—between what a proposal presents and what its presentation does and does not accomplish.

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