Exploring the ‘studies’ in socio-legal studies: A postgraduate research seminar with Professors Reza Banakar and Tamara Hervey (3 May 2018)

Thursday, 3 May 2018, from 10am to 3pm, Porthania P545 (Faculty room).

The aim of this HSLI seminar, specifically tailored for both doctoral students working on their thesis projects and for postdoctoral researchers planning funding applications for the autumn round, is to provide clear guidance on the benefits and possibilities of socio-legal research in addressing contemporary legal phenomena. Themes to be discussed include the relationship between socio-legal research and more traditional approaches in law, as well as ways in which to proceed from research question to a socio-legal research design.

The two main speakers of the seminar are Professor Reza Banakar, Department of Sociology of Law, Lund University, Sweden, and Professor Tamara Hervey,  Jean Monnet Professor of European Union Law, School of Law, University of Sheffield, UK.

Professor Jo Shaw, Salvesen Professor of European Institutions, School of Law, University of Edinburgh, UK, will also be in attendance providing comments and participating in the discussions.

Professor Banakar, a sociologist by training, has published widely in the areas of law and social theory, socio-legal methodology, legal cultures, ethnic discrimination, public ombudsmen, law and literature, and rights. His most recent methodological texts (e.g. Normativity in Legal Sociology: Methodological Reflections on Law and Regulation in Late Modernity, Springer 2014 , available to UoH staff and students as an ebook) have dealt with especially the turbulent intersection at which socio-legal research meets doctrinal work.

Professor Hervey’s publications are mainly in the areas of European Union law, health law and policy in trans-national contexts, and discrimination law and social rights. Her current areas of interest include transnational, global and comparative health law, and equality and diversity. In addition to her own research, Professor Hervey developed and delivered with colleagues a module on legal research methods for doctoral students which gained national recognition through a successful research council application in 2006. Eventually the project resulted in the co-authored book Research Methodologies in EU and International Law (Hart, 2011).

During the second part of the seminar, two doctoral students will present their thesis projects and receive feedback from all seminar participants, including the main speakers.

No registration is required. The seminar, organized with generous support from the Doctoral Programme in Law, is open to all. Full attendance will count towards two sessions in the postgraduate research seminar (‘tutkijaseminaari’) of general jurisprudential studies (legal history, legal theory, sociology of law, law and gender studies) which doctoral students from all disciplines may benefit from.

The name of this seminar is a take on two informative introductions to socio-legal research. Professor Hervey has contributed to the 2016 collection.

Cowan, David and Daniel Wincott (eds) (2016) Exploring the ‘Legal’ in Socio-Legal Studies. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.

Feenan, Dermot (ed.) (2013) Exploring the ‘Socio’ of Socio-Legal Studies. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan (this book is currently available to UoH staff and students as an ebook through Springer).


  • 10:15am Opening words
  • 10:25am Professor Reza Banakar (Lund), ‘Socio-legal research: What has empirical research to offer the law, legal studies and legal education?’
  • 10:55am Professor Tamara Hervey (Sheffield), ‘”Law in books”, “law in practice”, “law in context”: studying the effects of the emerging post-Brexit constitutional settlement on health’
  • 11:25am Discussion

11:45am Lunch break

  • 1:15pm Two doctoral student presentations
    Tero Kivinen, ‘Reimagining Animal Law’
    Kangle Zhang, ‘The Expertise of the Rating Agencies and Their Distributive Effects’
  • 2pm Comments and discussion
  • 2:15pm General discussion
  • 2:45pm End of seminar

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