Letter from the Scientific Director

Vincenzo Ferrari

The 2016-17 Master Course was no doubt successful. All our students proved very satisfactory and there are good chances that they may have access to further steps in the world of research. Some were indeed brilliant and produced works of significant interest, which might turn into publishable scientific contributions quite soon. Alexander Brandão and Florencia Radeliak scored very high, winning the prizes, respectively, as the best student of the Academic Year and as the author of the best final thesis. A new master course has taken a promising start. Fourteen students from the most diverse parts of the world enrolled and are currently running their courses.

Fifteen working groups met from April to July, 2017, discussing subjects of crucial interest for a contextual analysis of law. Collective publications should come out of them, and enrich the Oñati scientific Series. It is a hope of the Institute that proposals for interdisciplinary and intercultural research may also spring from both these groups and the ones that will meet in 2018. The critical state of law in our rapidly changing societies suggests that perhaps at no time, over the last few decades, sociology of law has been so important, both scientifically and politically. Socio-legal scholars must meet this challenge. The experience of almost thirty years of activity and the existence of a wide community of scholars who take or have taken part in the life of the Oñati Institute offers to us the opportunity to stimulate, plan and carry out research projects.

A good number of visiting scholars spent a time with us in the past months. The reputation of our library, which hosts more than 112,000 documents in the database, among them 21,680 specialised books, is worldly known. An ad hoc group is actively working in view of extending its scope to all the sectors of significant importance. The social sciences have changed dramatically since the Institute began its life. Even though keeping pace with such changes is not easy, our library is still said to be the world’s richest in the field of law and society and neighbouring areas. Moreover, as most of our visitors use to say, Oñati is a venue that offers special chances to reflect, read and write in a relaxed and stimulating environment.

The efficiency of our staff, as well as the help of many friends, made the above achievements possible in times that are especially difficult for scientific institutions in many parts of the world. The economic crisis that has affected the world for more than ten years already is still there, even though there are promising signs for the next future. We have resisted bravely so far and, may be, we can start making some new steps forward in view of the Institute’s 30th anniversary, which is now quite close.

Vincenzo Ferrari
November 2017