Saturday, September 14, 2013

Call for Papers: Sociological Inquiries into International Law

A call for papers has been issued for a workshop on "Sociological Inquiries into International Law," to be held May 16, 2014, at the London School of Economics. Here's the call:

Call for Papers

Sociological Inquiries into International Law

16 May 2014

Workshop Theme

The aim of this workshop is to help bring contemporary international law scholarship into a closer conversation with a number of inspiring and theoretically rich literatures on law and markets deriving from traditions of thinking within sociology and anthropology. We are convinced that, particularly within the field of international economic law, a deeper and more informed engagement with a range of sociological and social theoretic modes of thinking is necessary for intellectual renewal. We seek innovative and original contributions from scholars whose work is situated at those disciplinary boundaries, broadly understood.

Contributions are particularly welcome in the following areas:

(1) International law and the sociology of knowledge: what frameworks of knowledge circulate in and around institutions of international economic governance? By what complex set of practices are such frameworks produced, contested, and institutionally embedded? What are the sociotechnical forms in which they are constituted? In what senses is law a ‘knowledge practice’, and what might be the implications of conceiving legal practices in this mode? Work which draws inspiration from the concepts, questions and methodologies of science and technology studies, the sociology of knowledge, and social studies of science may be of particular promise in investigating such questions.

(2) International law and economic sociology: if the classic insight of economic sociology is that markets and law are mutually constituted, how might this insight be deployed, illustrated and developed in the context of contemporary international economic law? In what sense, if any, do contemporary practices in international economic law constitute global markets in the classical Polanyian (or any other) sense? In what sense might the rational economic actor herself be socially constituted in international economic relations, and what role do legal and other institutional infrastructures play in those processes?

(3) Sociologically inspired scholarship in international relations: to what extent is the practice and operation of international legal governance shaped by social and idealist factors (such as culture, norms, and values)? How might traditional sociological concepts such as socialization and collective identity formation be productively redeployed in the context of contemporary legal governance? What might the notion of the ‘collective memory of groups’ bring to our understanding of how global problems are constituted and addressed through law? This burgeoning literature often employs sociological tools, emphasizing the influence of social processes and factors (such as socialization and collective identity) on the development of international legal rules as well as actors' behaviour in the legal sphere.

(4) Anthropologically inspired work examining the microlevel of global economic governance, including documentary practices, microsocial interactions, and spatial/architectural relations. How do these practices and processes problematise the boundaries between public international law, private international law, and transnational law? To what extent and in what ways are professional practices in fields of international economic governance constituted and contested at the microlevel of day to day interaction, through the routine and mundane work of rulership in the ‘background’?


The workshop will take place at the London School of Economics, on 16 May 2014. Abstracts of no more than 300w should be sent to Sungjoon Cho, by 1 November 2013, and should include the author's name and full contact information. Decisions regarding inclusion in the workshop program will be sent by 1 January 2014. Those presenting will be expected to provide short discussion papers (3,000-4,000 words) by 25 April 2014.

We regret that we are unable to cover participants’ full travel and accommodation expenses. Limited assistance will be available for young scholars who are unable to secure funding from other sources.

Steering Committee

Sungjoon Cho, IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law

Moshe Hirsch, Hebrew University of Jerusalem

Andrew Lang, London School of Economics