Transnationalisation, Authority and Sociology of Law

19 Feb 2024 to 1 Mar 2024

Course in the Module "Globalisation, the Economy and Sociology of Law I" (3 ECTS)

One of the most profound developments in contemporary law and society is the new importance attached to international law (IL). A particularly striking yet long understudied trend in this regard is the increased juridification of international relations by a growing number of international courts (ICs). Whereas only a handful of ICs existed in the mid-1980s, there are now 25 in operation and indications of further growth. ICs are moreover changing qualitatively: most have compulsory jurisdiction, many allow other agents than states to initiate litigation before them, and several have the authority to review state compliance with international rules.

This course takes its starting-point in the proliferation of ICs and the corresponding evolutions in IL to study, from a socio-legal perspective, changes in global society and economy. We are particularly interested in how lawyers serve as brokers for social, economic, and political interests linked to both processes of institutionalizing and judicializing international and regional affairs. Lawyers may serve as state architects, seeking to moderate the power of those they serve, but they also serve as diplomats or brokers between different states, including colonizing and colonized states or competing hegemonic powers on the world stage, and between professional interests.

The central objectives of the course are to:

  • Understand evolutions in world society, using the example of ICs.
  • Examine the importance of legal actors in processes of globalization
  • Explore how law helps create particular forms of globalization in competition with other forms of governance.