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).

Jeremy Gould (Helsinki), ‘The Honourable Lady Justice Professor Munalula dissents!’ (14 April 2021)

… Or, how Zambia’s Constitutional Court judges think – about power, for example

Members of the Law Association of Zambia voting to censure the Zambian President’s firing of his Director of Public Prosecutions as unconstitutional. Photo: Jeremy Gould.

Wednesday, 14 April 2021, from 2pm to 4 pm EET (UTC+2), Zoom.

This presentation is part of a longitudinal attempt to engage ethnographically with the politics of constitutionalism in Zambia, a former British colony in Southern Africa. A remarkably stable country (given its context), with a thriving middle class, Zambia is afflicted with grievous social problems. The distribution of wealth and welfare among the population is as skewed toward injustice as in any country on the planet. The climate emergency is already wreaking havoc on domestic food security. And yet for the past twenty years, the nation’s political passions have been invested to an amazing degree into tugs-of-war about ‘constitutionalism.’

My talk examines the work of the new Constitutional Court (est. 2016), a key outcome of two decades of deeply politicized constitution-making. Through the scrutiny of debates within the court on styles of constitutional interpretation, I consider the emerging properties of Zambia’s postcolonial/postliberal constitutionalism. The substantive focal point concerns the ‘unfetteredness’ of executive power. A subsidiary motif is the role of politico-legal culture in the (non)realization of professed democratic ideals.

The event is open to all interested0, but kindly register your intention to participate through the registration form available here. You will receive the Zoom link shortly before the event by email. All registration data will be deleted after the event.

About the speaker

Jeremy Gould has a PhD in Anthropology from the University of Helsinki, where he taught Development Studies from 1973 to 2010. From 2010 to 2018 he was Professor of International Development Studies at the University of Jyväskylä. Upon retirement from Jyväskylä he has returned to anthropology in Helsinki where he continues research and supervision. He is finalizing a manuscript for Routledge based on long-term legal ethnography entitled Political legality. Prerogativism and constitution-making in postcolonial Zambia.

Call for Abstracts: Feminist Takes on Post-Truth Politics (15 April 2021)

This Special Issue of Philosophy and Social Criticism solicits essays that address the politics of (post-)truth as a distinctive matter of concern for feminist philosophy. It will explore the embodiment of truth in truth-tellers and in material practices and will highlight the dual values of contesting the given order and striving to create a common world.

Given the ways in which post-truth undermines the conditions for democratic thinking and action and diminishes practices of truth-telling, it seems crucial that feminist philosophers address both the phenomena and discourses of post-truth in order to take up the crisis, catastrophe, and possibilities of contemporary reality.

We anticipate contributions from multiple perspectives including those of decolonial studies, democratic theory, critical phenomenology, and new materialism, and making use of figures as varied as Arendt, Foucault, Rancière, Mouffe, Latour, Haraway, Ahmed, Guenther, Brown, Honig, Hill Collins, Zerilli, among others.

The Deadline for abstracts is 15 April 2021. For more detailed information, kindly consult the full call here. The Special Issue editors Catherine Koekoek (Erasmus University Rotterdam) and Emily Zakin (Miami University) can be contacted at feministposttruth@gmail.com.

Book launch: ‘Constituent Power’ (14 January 2021)

Thursday, 14 January 2021, from 6:00pm to 8:00pm EET (UTC+2), Zoom.

Welcome to the online book launch seminar of Constituent Power: Law, Popular Rule and Politics (EUP 2020), co-edited by Matilda Arvidsson (Gothenburg), Leila Brännström (Lund) and Panu Minkkinen (Helsinki).

Recent social and political developments, including the presidential elections in the United States, antidemocratic state policies in Hungary and Poland, and the political climate in the rest of Europe have brought questions relating to the position and composition of ‘the people’ in constitutional democracies to the forefront. This book confronts these questions head on as leading scholars across the fields of law, legal theory, political theory and history explore the contemporary problems facing constitutional democracies.

With a strong focus on constitutional law, this book examines the legal as well as the political power of ‘the people’ in constitutional democracies. Bringing together an international range of contributors from the USA, Latin America, the UK and continental Europe, it explores the complex relationship between constitutional democracy and ‘the people’. Contributors explore this relationship through the lens of radical democracy, engaging with the work of key figures such as Hannah Arendt, Carl Schmitt, Claude Lefort and Jacques Rancière.

Contributors to the book include (in alphabetical order):

For more information on the book, please visit the publisher’s webpage. If you wish to order the book at a 30% discounted rate, kindly consult this flyer.

programme

In addition to an introduction of the book, the launch seminar programme includes prepared comments from Professor Hans Lindahl (Tilburg) and Dr Lucia Rubinelli (Cambridge). The times are approximate.

  • 6:00pm EET Seminar opening
    Panu Minkkinen (Helsinki)
  • 6:05pm EET Introduction of the book
    Leila Brännström (Lund)
  • 6:20pm EET Prepared comments
    Lucia Rubinelli (Cambridge)
    Hans Lindahl (Tilburg)
  • 7:00pm EET Q&A and discussion
  • 7:30pm EET End of seminar

The event is open to all interested, but registration is required. Kindly register by filling in this form by Monday, 11 January 2021. You will receive the Zoom link by email after registrations have been successfully completed. All registration data will be deleted after the event.

Commentators

Hans Lindahl
Hans Lindahl is Professor of Legal Philosophy at Tilburg University (the Netherlands), and Professor of Global Law at Queen Mary University of London. He obtained law and philosophy degrees at the Universidad Javeriana (Colombia) before completing his doctorate in philosophy at the University of Louvain (Belgium). Lindahl has published widely but is, perhaps, currently best known for his twin monographs Fault Lines of Globalization: Legal Order and the Politics of A-Legality (OUP 2013) and Authority and the Globalisation of Inclusion and Exclusion (CUP 2018).

Lucia Rubinelli
Lucia Rubinelli is Junior Research Fellow in the History of Political Thought at Robinson College, University of Cambridge. Prior to joining Cambridge, she was Fellow in Political Theory at the London School of Economics. She received her PhD from the University of Cambridge and holds degrees from the EHESS (Paris), the LSE and the Università di Trieste (Italy). She is author of, among other texts, Constituent Power: A History (CUP 2020). Starting in July 2021, she will be Assistant Professor in Political Theory at Yale University.

 

Jacopo Martire (Bristol), ‘A Foucauldian Interpretation of Modern Law’ (3 December 2020)

Thursday, 3 December 2020, from 2pm to 4pm EET (UTC+2), Zoom.

The theme for the events of the Helsinki Socio-Legal Initiative (HSLI) during the 2020-2021 academic session address the various ways in which Michel Foucault’s work has influenced the study of law. This ranges from analyses of disciplinary and governmental power to the more ethically attuned emphases of his later works. The aim of the events is to encourage the exchange of ideas that either deal with Foucault directly or have been inspired by the various theoretical frameworks that his philosophy has provided.

This first event of the ongoing academic year is built as a ‘meet the author’ session with Dr Jacopo Martire (Bristol) who will present his book A Foucauldian Interpretation of Modern Law: From Sovereignty to Normalisation and Beyond (Edinburgh University Press 2017). The presentation will be followed by an opportunity for q&a and general discussion. Dr Martire has kindly provided copies of chapters 1 and 4 of his book as background material, and we encourage participants to familiarise themselves with it prior to the event.

programme
  • 2:15pm Seminar opening
    Professor Panu Minkkinen (Helsinki)
  • 2:25pm A Foucauldian Interpretation of Modern Law
    Dr Jacopo Martire (Bristol)
  • 3:15pm Discussion
  • 3:45pm End of seminar

The event is open to all interested, but registration is required. Kindly register by filling in the form by Tuesday, 1 December 2020. You will receive a link to the background material and the Zoom link by email after your registration has been successfully completed. All registration data will be deleted after the event.

About The book

Although Foucault is certainly one of most influential scholars of our age, it is safe to say that law for Foucauldian scholarship is something like an ‘indigestible meal’. This is due to the liberal challenge that haunts Foucauldian approaches to law, which goes by the name of the ‘expulsion thesis’: how is it possible to analyse law through Foucauldian lenses if Foucault himself claimed (albeit cursorily) that law, in modern times, has been colonised by other disciplines? Foucauldian responses had been attempted but they appear – for all their sophistication – not only rather unconvincing but also advocating a sort of recourse to a language of rights and law that is – at its core – undistinguishable from that of liberalism. How is that possible? I suggest that the answer lied in the fact that the idea of law – in its most foundational concepts – is accepted as a sort of black box in modern legal theory and therefore we are unable to question properly its structural limits. To overcome this limitation, my work attempts a genealogy, sketching the most basic structure or syntax of the modern legal discourse.

Through my genealogical reconstruction (which draws both from the history of political philosophy and on the three seminal revolutions – English, French, and American – that have established the constitutional horizon of modernity) I propose that modern law and modern biopolitical forms of power developed symbiotically and that, to the extent that while modern law establishes the existence of a universal legal subject, law’s functioning is made possible by the homogenization of society through normalising practices. On this basis, I argue that – in the context of Zygmunt Bauman’s vision of modernity as a ‘liquid society’ – we are moving towards the absolute limit of the normalizing complex. As normalising strategies are increasingly unable to homogenise a social body which is increasingly composed by individualised and multifaceted subject, modern law faces two interconnected challenges: a normative one (how can normalising laws properly reflect the wills of a mass of differentiated virtual individuals?), and a functional one (how can normalising laws effectively regulate a new protean social body?).

About the author

Dr Jacopo Martire is Senior Lecturer in Legal Theory and Deputy LLM Director at the University of Bristol. He teaches Jurisprudence, European Union Law, and Social and Legal Theory. He joined the University of Bristol Law School in January 2018 having previously held teaching positions at the University of Stirling, Manchester University, and King’s College London. Dr Martire’s main area of research is in legal and political theory with a specific focus on a reconstruction of the fundamental ideological structures of modern law in the light of Michel Foucault’s theories. His main contribution in this respect is his monograph.

Currently, Dr Martire is also developing his research in three directions. First, he is exploring the question of the ‘Other’ in its politico-philosophical declension, and in particular in relation to EU law. Second, he is analysing the interrelation between law and new forms of technoregulation, scrutinising how technological advancements (especially in the field of automation and algorithmic governance) challenge the classical legal model of ‘command and control’ and the legal-political assumptions linked to it. Third, he is examining the ‘underbellly of law’ by investigating the aporias and paradoxes of the modern legal discourse through the medium of cinema and literature.

People matter: some methodological remarks on the study of transnational law

Emilia Korkea-aho and Panu Minkkinen

This short presentation was intended for a panel at a seminar on transnational law, 12-13 March 2020, organised by Professor Päivi Leino-Sandberg and the Erik Castrén Institute. Unfortunately the authors were unable to attend. It is therefore here for your information.

***

In a recent article, Natasha Affolder, the Canadian professor of transnational law, noted how transnational law has served as a kind of ‘holding pen’ for those who have felt restricted by the inability of existing legal vocabularies to accommodate new versions of law as it is observed, lived and practiced (Affolder 2019: 3). A major attraction of this ‘holding pen’ is its ability to turn away from states and other institutional entities to ‘actors’ (Affolder 2019: 8). Actors are, then, often defined with reference to what they are not, and, consequently, transnational law is mainly concerned with actors that are not states.

Despite this focus on actors that seems to evoke images of individuals buzzing around in networks, Affolder also noted how transnational law has neglected to include people in its analyses. Transnational legal scholarship is seemingly full of accounts about ‘actors’ (non-state, NGOs, corporations, substate, and so on), ‘agents’ and ‘experts’ all operating in a complex web of networks. But curiously by avoiding to address ‘people’, the use of actor-oriented operators also leads to a ‘conceptual flattening’ that redirects the inquiry somewhat ironically back into institutionalised accounts of transnational law ignoring the human origins of all network activities and other constellations where agents, actors and experts gather.

Affolder’s observations about the promise of transnational law as the ‘holding pen’ and her reservations about the ‘conceptual flatness’ of its actor-oriented vocabulary are both plausible.  But we would like to take her argument a bit further. In several places, she refers to the ‘lived practice of law’, to ‘lived reality’, or to transnational law’s commitment to uncovering hidden law and the people behind it (Affolder 2019: 3, 4, 15). But she never really elaborates how we should go about doing this. There is surely a need to ‘bring human actors back on stage’, as she claims. But we need to know how. What does ‘bringing people on stage’ entail?

We would like to suggest that if we wish to take Affolder’s challenge seriously, a more ethnographic approach, perhaps anchored in a new conception of legal realism, is needed. Viewing transnational legal networks through an ethnographic lens would not only bring human actors back on stage, but it would also improve our understanding of institutions and their practices and helps us to see them in a more nuanced light.

Perhaps this captures the real uniqueness of ‘transnational law’ in general. Its normative substance can neither be inferred from the will of some transnational legislator nor from the practices of authoritative institutions, but from the routines and interactions of networked individuals.

Bibliography

Affolder, Natasha, ‘Transnational Environmental Law’s Missing People’, Transnational Environmental Law 8:3 (2019), pp. 463-488.

Concepts, paradigms and slogans (24 May 2019)

Concepts, paradigms and slogans – From human rights to human dignity and sustainability. EASA LAW NET workshop on the key concepts of anthropology of law and governance

Friday, 24 May 2019, from 9am to 4:30pm, Siltavuorenpenger 1A, 2nd floor, meeting room 229

Convenors: Reetta Toivanen, Miia Halme-Tuomisaari, Jane Cowan

The aim of this workshop is to bring together anthropologists working in the anthropology of governance, rights and law to discuss, generate and, where appropriate, define/redefine key concepts, paradigms and familiar slogans that frame practices and performances of governance. Extractivism, environmental sustainability, transnationalism, power and security are among the key concepts that will be discussed. ‘Sustainability’ constitutes one exemplary case of a discourse that in recent years has become increasingly central within global governance, prompting the question: what is entailed in the apparent shift from human rights toward human dignity and sustainability? What changes can be identified, where do they come from, and what do they express? More generally, what and who are such new or subtly shifting paradigms serving? The workshop offers an opportunity to consider ethnographically grounded explorations on the meanings and consequences of concepts, paradigms and slogans as they endure or alter.

For more information on this event organised by by the Centre of Excellence in Law, Identity and the European Narratives (EuroStorie), Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies (HCAS), Helsinki Institute of Sustainability Science (HELSUS) and the network Anthropology of Law, Rights and Governance (LAW NET) of the European Association of Social Anthropologists (EASA), see here.

Law and ethnography: a methodological debate (9 May 2019)

Thursday, 9 May 2019, from 10am to 5pm, Porthania P545 (Faculty room).

The 2019 main event of the Helsinki Socio-Legal Initiative (HSLI) addresses the largely untapped potential of ethnographic methods (participant observation, qualitative interviewing, etc.) in the socio-legal study of law. A common misconception associates ethnography exclusively with the anthropological study of ‘exotic’ legal cultures. Far too little information is available on what these methods have offered – and continue to offer – the study of law and legal institutions in our own contemporary world. What added value do ethnographic methods represent? What new perspectives into familiar phenomena can they open?

In addition to a keynote address by Professor Marie-Benedicte Dembour (Brighton), a leading human rights scholar at the intersection of law and anthropology, and a panel discussion with leading experts, the one-day event includes a session dedicated to individual papers in which ethnographic methods have either been used or are being planned.

The event is open to all interested.

The event has been made possible with generous support from the Hilkka and Otto Brusiin Foundation and through collaboration with the Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies (HCAS).

Programme

  • 10:15am Opening words
    Professor Panu Minkkinen (Helsinki)
  • 10:25am Keynote address
    Professor Marie-Benedicte Dembour (Brighton), ‘The four anthropological mottos and the study of law’
  • 11:15am Discussion
  • 11:45am Lunch break (at your own expense)
  • 1:15pm Paper presentations, followed by discussion
    • Nora Fabritius (Helsinki), ‘Ethnic and national identities in cultural minority rights argumentation – looking into rights talk at the grass-root level’
      This paper presents a close reading of everyday rights talk on the grass-root level of a multicultural locality in Northern Norway. It puts explicit focus on the methods used; Argumentation and Discourse Analysis. The paper underlines the importance of taking into consideration the local context when implementing minority rights since rights and identities are negotiated in plural and fragmented ways in relation to other groups, the nation, and the regional community. For this, ethnographic studies have much to offer. The study shows how everyday rights talk becomes intertwined with the ways those the rights aim to protect understand, present and describe themselves and their neighbours.
    • Mehrnoosh Farzamfar (Helsinki), ‘Applying human rights-based soft security measures in response to the contemporary security-related challenges of immigration: a transformation of global governance’
      In my PhD dissertation, I argue how there could be a reconciliation between conserving the national security of states and the safety of host societies, on the one hand, and ensuring the human rights of immigrants, on the other hand, by adopting a human rights-based approach to security issues, instead of securitisation of immigration. Due to the multi-faced nature of the topic of my PhD research, this study is a multi-disciplinary investigation combining law, political science, and social science.
    • Stephen Phillips (Åbo Akademi), ‘State-created vulnerability through denial of access to services: the case of single male asylum seekers’
      This paper explores the extent to which the denial of the vulnerability label to certain individuals and groups can lead to an increase in their level of vulnerability, as through their exclusion from services they are often placed at greater risk. In this research I will draw on my experiences as a caseworker in a small NGO in Australia where I worked with community based asylum seekers. I plan to return to this NGO and observe sessions with clients, as well as conduct interviews with clients and staff. This case study will be used as a reference point to examine how the vulnerability concept is theorised, constructed and applied, and to demonstrate the exclusionary nature of the vulnerability concept and its potential (mis)use as a tool of power.
    • Discussants: Professor Jo Shaw (Edinburgh/Tampere) and Associate Professor Magdalena Kmak (Åbo Akademi)
  • 2.45pm Coffee break
  • 3:15pm Panel discussion: ‘Law and ethnography’, followed by q&a/discussion
    Panellists: Professor Jane Cowan (Sussex/HCAS), Professor Marie-Benedicte Dembour (Brighton), Dr Miia Halme-Tuomisaari (HCAS).
  • 4:30pm Final discussion
  • 4:45pm End of seminar

About the keynote speaker

Marie-Benedicte Dembour is Professor of Law and Anthropology at Brighton Business School, University of Brighton, UK. While Professor Dembour’s research interests cover a wide range of subjects in the anthropology of law, her particular area of expertise is international human rights law. Her numerous publications include the book Who Believes in Human Rights? Reflections on the European Convention (CUP, 2006) which examines how classical critiques of human rights (realism, utilitarianism, Marxism, feminism and cultural relativism) manifest themselves in the case law of the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) showing that the ECtHR must confront the dilemmas and contradictions these critiques highlight. Her latest award-winning monograph, When Humans Become Migrants. Study of the European Court of Human Rights with an Inter-American Counterpoint (OUP, 2016), reveals how the ECtHR was never especially pro-active at defending migrants’ rights. It contrasts ‘the Strasbourg reversal’, which puts the principle of state sovereignty and border controls before human rights, to the pro-human approach adopted by the Inter-American Court of Human Rights.

About the panellists

Jane Cowan is Professor of Social Anthropology at the University of Sussex, UK. During the academic year 2018-2019, she is Jane and Aatos Erkko Visiting Professor at the Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies (HCAS).
Miia Halme-Tuomisaari is a legal anthropologist specialised in the analysis of the contemporary human rights phenomenon. She is currently Core-Fellow at the Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies (HCAS).

Ben Booth (Edward Elgar), ‘How to craft a good and persuasive book proposal’ (7 March 2019)

Thursday, 7 March 2019, from 2.30pm (please note time) to 4pm, P545 (Faculty room).

Are you working on a project that is likely to lead to an edited volume? Are you considering publishing your doctoral thesis as a monograph through an international publishing house? In this training session, Ben Booth, representing a leading international legal publisher, will give you hands-on tips and advice on how to formulate your research into a strong book proposal. The session, which will also include a brief introduction of the Edward Elgar law catalogue, concludes with a q&a session where you can direct your questions and queries to someone who has practical professional expertise in academic publishing.

Ben Booth is Publisher (Academic Law) with Edward Elgar Publishing, a leading international academic and professional publishing house with a strong focus on the social sciences and legal fields. Ben has worked in publishing for over 15 years and is part of the commissioning team for Elgar’s growing law list. He takes responsibility for the broad areas of public law, European law and international law, and has helped to develop a strong focus on key topics such as environmental law and human rights.

The Doctoral Clinic (Vaasa, 8-9 April 2019)

Photo: Asko Halme

The two-day national workshop, co-organised by the Faculty of Law, University Helsinki, and the Institute for Human Rights at Åbo Akademi University, and hosted by the Vaasa Unit of Legal Studies of the University of Helsinki, is intended for doctoral candidates in law and neighbouring disciplines (politics, social sciences, humanities, etc.) from all Finnish universities working on themes related to law.

The main aim of the workshop is to enable you to tackle the methodological problems that you may be facing in your thesis work. While the focus of the event is methodological, its approach is practical and ‘hands-on’. What is the difference between a theoretical framework and a method? What methods are available for legal research, and which method does the research question of your thesis imply? What options do you have? What are the relative strengths and weaknesses of the options you have?

The workshop will include:

  • an advance reading assignment;
  • plenary sessions on general methodological questions and the main options;
  • working in groups assessing and comparing the different methodological approaches that are available to you;
  • a pop-up clinic for face-to-face consultations with the instructors on drafts of the methodological sections of your theses or of your research plans; and
  • a written assignment submitted either as a self-reflective academic learning diary (3 ECTS) or a research essay intended to function as the first draft of the methodological section of your thesis (5 ECTS).

Having successfully completed the workshop, you should be able to:

  • understand the basic methodological approaches available in legal scholarship and how they apply to your own thesis project;
  • manage the complexity of legal phenomena through the systematic frameworks provided by different methodological approaches;
  • discuss and evaluate critically the political interconnections between various legal phenomena and their study; and
  • appreciate the challenges that interdisciplinarity introduces to legal scholarship.

Participation is free, but participating doctoral candidates are expected to cover their own travel and accommodation costs. Please consult your doctoral programmes and Faculties for possible subsidies.

More information (including travel and accommodation information and registration form) is now available on the event’s Moodle platform.