Multiscalar Legal Studies: A Conversation with Mariana Valverde (Toronto) and Luis Eslava (Kent) (5 May 2021)

Wednesday, 5 May 2021, from 5.00pm to 7.00pm EEST/UTC+3, Zoom.

Please note that the timing of the event has been determined in order to ease participation from transatlantic time zones.

Over the past decades, multiscalar approaches have developed into an important research perspective in the social sciences. In multiscalar analyses, the dimensions of the local, the regional, the national, the transnational or pan-regional, as well as the international or global, are not regarded as separate levels to be treated independently but, rather, as units in mutually constituting institutional and personal networks. This development concerns socio-legal studies, as well. So, for example, socio-legal theorist Mariana Valverde has recently noted that although the term ‘scale’ does not belong to traditional legal vocabulary, especially the work of international and transnational legal scholars bears evidence of approaches that geographers would call ‘scale shifting’ or ‘multiscalar governance’.

The proliferation of independent and yet interconnected normative orders has also enabled socio-legal research more generally to focus on the scalar dimensions of pluralist legal phenomena. Ranging from transnational environmental regulation and sustainability to migration and human rights law, multiscalar analyses provide a better opportunity for grasping the complexities of a truly globalised legal environment. With numerous lawmaking authorities and entities involved, the nation state is no longer the privileged legislative hub that it once was even if it still remains an important element in the multiple scales of law and governance.

The aim of the 2021 HSLI main event, co-convened by Professors Jeremy Gould and Panu Minkkinen, is to explore further and to discuss the possibilities of multiscalar approaches in socio-legal scholarship.

The event is open to all interested, but you are invited to register your interest in participating participate through this registration form. The Zoom link will be emailed to all who have registered prior to the event. All registration data will be deleted after the event.

Provisional programme outline
Background reading

In order to facilitate the discussion, you are encouraged to familiarise yourselves with the literature outlined below before the event.

About the main speakers

Luis Eslava
Dr Luis Eslava is Reader in International Law at the University of Kent, UK, Senior Fellow at Melbourne Law School, Australia, International Professor at Universidad Externado de Colombia, and a core member of the teaching faculty at Harvard Law School’s Institute for Global Law and Policy. Bringing together insights from anthropology, history and legal and social theory, his work focuses on the multiple ways in which international norms, aspirations and institutional practices, both old and new, come to shape and become part of our everyday life, arguing that closer critical attention needs to be paid to this co-constitutive relationship between international law ‘up there’ and life ‘down here’. In addition to numerous articles and chapters, his most recent books are the monograph Local Space, Global Life: The Everyday Operation of International Law and Development (Cambridge University Press, 2015) and the co-edited collection Bandung, Global History and International Law: Critical Pasts, Pending Futures (Cambridge University Press, 2017).

Mariana Valverde
Professor Mariana Valverde holds a chair at the Centre for Criminology and Sociolegal Studies, University of Toronto, Canada, as well as courtesy cross-appointments at the Department of Geography and Planning and the Faculty of Law. She has been a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada since 2006. Her main research interests are currently urban law and governance (historically and in the present) and, at the theoretical level, Foucault, sexuality studies, theories of spatiotemporality, and actor-network theory. Her recent monographs include Michel Foucault (Routledge, 2017) which explores Foucault’s theoretical contribution to the fields of criminology, law, justice and penology while seeking to dispel some commonly held misconceptions about the French philosopher’s relevance to criminology and law, and Chronotopes of Law: Jurisdiction, Scale and Governance (Routledge, 2015) where Professor Valverde adapts notions such as intertextuality, dialogism, and Mikhail Bakhtin’s ‘chronotope’ in order to synthesise considerations of space and time in a theoretical framework that is open-ended, interactive and dynamic. Most recently, she has coedited (and contributed to) the Routledge Handbook of Law and Society (Routledge, 2021, publisher’s discount flyer available here).