Dr Lisa Vanhala
Lecturer in Human Rights
- Name: Dr Lisa Vanhala
- Position: Lecturer in Human Rights
- Room: 3.02
- Telephone: 020 7679 4984
- Fax: 020 7679 4969
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Lisa joined the department in 2011 as a British Academy Postdoctoral Fellow and moved to the position of Lecturer in Human Rights in 2012. She holds a DPhil and MPhil in Politics from University of Oxford. She spent her undergraduate years at McGill University and Sciences Po, Paris. Prior to joining UCL Lisa was a Research Fellow at the Centre for Socio-Legal Studies in Oxford. She has also worked as a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Centre for the Study of Human Rights at LSE.
Lisa's current research project attempts to solve the puzzle of why some environmental non-governmental organizations (NGOs) have chosen to be active participants before the courts while others have completely eschewed the use of legal strategies in pursuit of their policy goals. It introduces a novel theoretical approach to debates regarding domestic and transnational legal mobilization in the realm of environmental and climate change law. The socio-legal methodological framework shifts scholarly attention away from legal and political contexts on to the actors themselves to explore the impact of intra- and inter-organizational dynamics and discourses on strategy choice. Employing data gathered from organizational records and elite interviews in green NGOs in three European countries, the project will explore how organizations invoke and engage with law in a multitude of ways.
Lisa's first monograph, Making Rights a Reality? Disability Rights Activists and Legal Mobilization was published by Cambridge University Press in 2011. The monograph follows activists and lawyers in the United Kingdom and Canada as they construct and negotiate the political identity associated with disability. It reveals that the collective identities constructed by activists shape, and in turn are shaped by, their decisions to enter the courtroom. The disability rights movement offers a rich case study of the transformative effect of legal mobilization. Through the courts the movement has engaged a broad spectrum of issues that deeply affect individual and collective identities and living experiences. These range from independent living and segregated education to euthanasia and the politics of care-giving.
Core research and teaching interests
- Comparative politics
- Law and courts
- Comparative constitutionalism
- Human rights
- Environmental policy
- New social movements
- Socio-legal theory and methods
- Vanhala, Lisa. 2011. Making Disability Rights a Reality? Disability Rights Activists and Legal Mobilization in Canada and the United Kingdom. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Selected peer-reviewed articles
- Vanhala, Lisa. 2011. "Social Movements Lashing Back: Law, Social Change and Socio-legal Backlash in Canada" Studies in Law, Politics and Society, Vol 54.
- R. Daniel Kelemen and Lisa Vanhala. 2010. "The Shift to the Rights Model of Disability in the EU and Canada" Regional and Federal Studies 20(1): 1-18.
- Vanhala, Lisa. 2010. "Twenty-five Years of Disability Equality? Interpreting Disability Rights in the Supreme Court of Canada" Common Law World Review 39(1): 27-47.
- Vanhala, Lisa. 2009. "Disability Activists in the Supreme Court of Canada: Legal Mobilization and Accommodating Social Movements" Canadian Journal of Political Science 42(4): 981-1002.
- Vanhala, Lisa. 2009. "Anti-discrimination policy actors and their use of litigation strategies: the influence of identity politics" Journal of European Public Policy 16(5): 738-754.
- Vanhala, Lisa. 2006. "Fighting Discrimination through Litigation in the UK: The Social Model of Disability and the EU Anti-discrimination Directive" Disability and Society 21(5): 551-565.