Steuer, Max

O.P. Jindal Global University and Comenius University in Bratislava, Faculty Member
12 jan 2024 - 26 jan 2024

I am very grateful to the Board of the IISL for the Residence Grant that enabled my visit to Oñati and to the professional administrative staff for all their kind assistance. It was a privilege to have this opportunity to progress with some of my research projects as well as to improve my understanding of the IISL’s history and activities. The Institute should be congratulated for its achievements and visited widely by social scientists, as it offers a unique example of academic community that has been developed in a bottom-up fashion, in integral links with its surrounding local and regional milieu. This—alongside the inclusiveness of the loose disciplinary label of ‘sociology of law’ or ‘socio-legal studies’—may be part of the reasons why it offers several inspiring features for 21st century academia.   

The IISL community includes an impressive list of both eminent senior scholars and aspiring academics from all over the world and without restrictions to particular disciplinary backgrounds. This makes it particularly valuable to engage with and contributes to overcoming frequent disciplinary ‘silos’ or hierarchies.  

The management of the Institute as well as the town of Oñati demonstrate commitment to sustainability, which is key at a time of a looming climate catastrophe. While academic institutions alone cannot reverse the tide, they should lead by example as centers of knowledge. The small size of Oñati, which reduces commutes to a few-minute pleasant walk between the accommodation in the Antia Residence and the IISL is undoubtedly of great help here.

The IISL—with its specialized Library, visiting scholars and Master students, publications, events and surroundings—connects particularly well historical traditions and motivation to innovate, offering space for more inclusive ways of academic organization. Among others, the professional publishing and constant development of the quality of its open-access journals contributes to the rising global movement for knowledge without barriers.   

I look forward to follow and further engage with the IISL community.


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