Community Blog

  • 1 Aug 2022 10:04 | Anna Di Ronco

    I visited Oñati in March this year during my research leave. My hope was to be able to write my book on the policing of eco-justice movements in a tranquil and intellectually stimulating environment. In my two-week stay I did progress with my writing but also did much more than that: I enjoyed the peaceful atmosphere of the gorgeous library, had amazing walks in the nature around Oñati, and connected with the other Visiting Scholars and Master Students at the residence. During my second week I also went to Donostia-San Sebastián to meet Gema Varona (also in the Oñati Community) and gave a lecture in her course at the University of the Basque Country. During my stay, I also visited Vitoria-Gasteiz (the Country's capital) and Zarautz (at the seaside). I travelled around the region mostly by bus, which gave me the chance to chat with people and appreciate their generosity and attachment to their beautiful Country. I won't elaborate on the regional food but, as everyone knows, it is remarkable (I loved the pintxos!!). Overall, I very much enjoyed my stay and felt enriched by it - and I will definitely come back again in the future, should the opportunity arise. 

    My book 'Policing, Social Control and Environmental Activism: Power and Resistance in Urban Struggles for Eco-Justice' will be published by Bristol University Press next year.   

  • 27 Jul 2022 15:23 | María de los Ángeles Ramallo

    7th Global Meeting on Law and Society. Abstracts of the papers presented by Members of the Oñati Community (2nd part) 

    Remember that if you have done a presentation at the Global Meeting and you want your abstract to be uploaded, you can contact mramallo@derecho.uba.ar

    Judicial Dialogues and the Rule of Law. Joxerramon Bengoetxea (University of the Basque Country, UPV/EHU and Oñati IISL)

    My contribution is based on a recently published monograph that analyzes judicial dialogue, locating it in judicial governance studies and research on the Judiciary-. It proposes an innovative taxonomic typology of judicial dialogues. The presentation for the Lisbon Conference focuses on its European dimension, especially when a clash appears between the Rule of Law in different legal systems. This is the question of primacy, and gives rise to the debate on Constitutional Pluralism. Judicial Dialogue has sometimes been presented as a possible remedy to the clashes (the rage) produced by alternative claims of supremacy (and sovereignty).

    A sort of constitutional pluralism has emerged in the EU following the doctrine of the primacy of EU law, as the uniform law of the Union, and the reactions against this doctrine originating in some national courts and juridical circles. This is not a new phenomenon and Neil MacCormick coined the theory of mild or soft constitutional pluralism to understand it. Pluralist predicaments are hard to reconcile with hierarchical and pyramidal Western legal theory, and this tension is likely to create stress for national legal and judicial cultures and national constitutionalism.

    Amongst the strategies developed by jurists to deal with this tension like comity, subsidiarity, margin of appreciation, local standards, conform interpretation, indirect effect, horizontal effects of fundamental rights, effet utile, or national constitutional identity, this contribution focuses on judicial dialogues.

    The concept, typology and functions of "judicial dialogue" and the methodology and sociolegal and jurisprudential theories required for their analysis and appraisal show their potential in dealing with the stress of competing claims and clashes on who has the competence over competence (K-K). To analyze judicial dialogue, it is necessary to address justice from a constitutional and socio-legal governance perspective, where the social sciences complement the legal analysis, based on the institutional theory of law (MacCormick).

    The rapprochement between sociology and legal theory uses a realist concept of law as an institutional normative order(ing), which addresses norms and conflicts within the realm of practical reason. A hermeneutic understanding is necessary to understand Judges and Judging —as a power and as an institution— and the practice of judicial dialogue, and requires an epistemology that overcomes the dialectical tension between legal sociology and dogmatic theories of law. Open to Justice and to the theories of the Judiciary, as its institutional manifestation, this approach explains Judicial dialogue as an epiphenomenon or side effect of Justice, as a power and as a field.

    Law, politics and justice are intertwined, as public forums of Practical Reason, something that reveals the difficult cases that are settled in the judicial vertices (apex), raising instances of judicial dialogue, of all sorts. The rich diversity of judicial dialogues calls for a systematic focus on the different categories of judicial dialogue in Europe.

    Ultimately, the legal culture of the judicial, constitutional and juridical communities involved will determine their success or failure in tackling such stressful situations of contestation of authority.

    Bridging Legal Theory and Socio-Legal Studies in the Iberian context. Joxerramon Bengoetxea (University of the Basque Country, UPV/EHU and Oñati IISL)

    My presentation has three points. The first deals with epistemic communities. The second with marginality of sociolegal knowledge. 

    As regards epistemic communities, while there is there is no centre of any significant size in Spain, comparable to eg Lund's Department of Sociology of Law, or to Coimbra, there is the interesting case of the Oñati International Institute for the Sociology of Law, and its Master, Workshops, Publñications, Visiting Schemes and Master, and the Oñati Community virtual network of sociolegal scholars; and there are some centers where sociolegal studies are carried out with that label (Barcelona, Zaragoza, Carlos III Universities, or Girona for Legal Cultures). There are interesting studies in different legal disciplines, away from traditional dogmatics. Especially the development of criminology and economic analysis of law. But this is not systematic. The Spanish law degree syllabus does not give any weight to Law & Society, nor Law & Economics for that matter. Only under the cloak of Legal Theory can Sociology of Law have a presence. Even less so regarding the professional Master for Law School Practice, or that for the School of the Judiciary. Still much to be done.

    Secondly, the marginality, critical focus and exclusion of sociolegal theory in the formation of the internal legal culture. There are two major gaps in Spanish legal education: sociolegal studies and comparative law. Big challenge for Jurisprudence and Legal Theory. Even Legal Theory (Jurisprudence) or Legal History are marginal disciplines. There could be many more bridges between the marginal legal subjects. Behind these disciplinary confrontations there are issues of power, and sites of research; for instance what sort of career paths are open to researchers and who decides on the law curriculum? Who is in charge of granting access to the legal professions and what is studied there? Law departments, Law Faculties v Law Schools, State exam for legal practice, Access to Judicial school, and similar issues. L&S has some presence at the earlier formative years, as marginal as history, comparative law, or Jurisprudence.

    Thirdly, the need for bridges between Jurisprudence and Sociology of Law, is to be found in the need for a solid conceptual foundation and in awareness of law in action.How far apart are L&S v Jurisprudence? Is it possible to build bridges?

    1. specific topics legal theory and sociolegal studies allowing for convergence: bioethics, criminology and punishment, the market (labour and property), coloniality, and so many more

    2. approaches to law-making (drafting), and judicial decision-making; collaboration between legal theory, political science, sociolegal studies is possible and can yield very useful results

    3. the more philosophical issues: here is where I detect the greatest gap. Analytical jurisprudence has sometimes gone very formal, and sociolegal studies very specific and casuistic, almost dictated by the rigours of research methods, which consider theoretical issues are not sociolegal. Bridges are necessary here, much more interaction, more feedback between the disciplines, also with comparative law, legal geography and legal history.

    The Cartography of repression: an analysis of the clash with the drugs trade in the city of Curitiba. Laís Gorski (Centro de Estudos Sociais da Universidade de Coimbra, CES-UC)

    The study seeks to demonstrate the main problems raised by the paradigm of Political Sociology in the Penal Field, namely in the sphere of the dysfunctionalities and the structural contradictions in the systems of penal persecution, to be revisited in Brazil in light of the very application of the current criminal legislation. To do so, we propose a critical reflection on prisons notorious for the crime of drug trafficking, before analyzing data obtained by means  of  observations  and  empirical  studies  carried  out at  the  2nd  Police  Station of  the City of Curitiba in Paraná. The data collected on the police’s activities points  to  a  selectivity  in  criminal  prosecution  across different levels,  to  have  invariably  led  to  the  individualization of certain punishable social groups.

    “After Speaking With the Judge, My Enrollment Fee Was Paid”: the Use of Constitutional Remedies in Colombia’s Educational System and Transformative Law in Latin America. Markus Ciesielski (Justus-Liebig-Universität Gießen)

    Latin America is characterized by extreme social inequalities since colonial times. Education alleviated extreme poverty. Nevertheless, education is not reducing substantially the economic, cultural, and ethnic disadvantages of historically marginalized actors and communities. Racial and gender discriminations persist although education is a mostly region-wide justiciable fundamental right. This leaves unresolved a central topic of socio-legal scholars: The social transformation through law. I argue that a constructivist approach is necessary for research on the transformative effects of law. My argument relies on an exploratory study on the Colombian acción de tutela. The tutela is a frequently used remedy for fundamental rights (Lehoucq and Taylor 2020). It is commonly used by marginalized actors. I will present a qualitative analysis based on about 30 semi-structured interviews conducted in 2021. Interviews were selected out of over 140 case files provided by Colombian courts. I interviewed students from ethnically diverse regions. They claimed the right to education between 2016 and 2020. The analysis of the qualitative interview data shows transformative effects of law. Students reconstruct imaginaries of educational inequalities by using the tutela-remedy. Tutela-related events like the phone call of a judge or the tutela-sentence can support but also undermine what students expect from their education. Colleges, universities, public-school administrations, and institutions for scholarships become actors in these imaginaries on the right to education. With these findings I suggest supplementing existing research on legal transformation. The results underline the importance of concepts like habitus, legal framing, and legal consciousness. These concepts contribute to a critical examination of the use of legal remedies by historically marginalized actors and communities in the global south.

    Into the Looking Glass: The Construction of Absence in Law and Legal Education. Annette Lansink (University of Venda, South Africa)

    This paper examines the renewed calls for the decolonisation of law and legal education in South Africa. It discusses the process of deconstructing legal knowledge and valorising subjugated African knowledges as an act of epistemological liberation and transformation without essentialising identities. It does so, aligned to the conference theme of rage, reckoning and remedy, within the context of reconciliation and the lacunae in the implementation of transitional justice. The paper further endeavours to examine how legal knowledge can be contextualised and respond to the social realities of communities without losing sight of the contemporary imperative of internationalisation in a global world. This paper accordingly argues that universities should engage the legitimate calls for decolonisation and address issues of epistemic justice in a poly-epistemic and transcultural world as a way of redressing the constructed absences of African knowledges and experiences in law and legal education.

  • 18 Jul 2022 18:31 | María de los Ángeles Ramallo

    The 7th Global Meeting on Law and Society took place in Lisbon from July 13 to 16. Members of the Oñati Community participated in different sessions presenting their research. Here are some of the abstracts of the papers presented: 

    Translocal legalities: local encounters with transnational law. Marisa N. Fassi (Universidad Nacional de Córdoba, Argentina), together with Matthew Canfield, Giulia Fabini, Emma Nyhan and Mariana Prandini

    The presentation was based on an article published in Transnational Legal Theory, which presents what we term translocal legalities –emergent forms of normativity constituted through grounded encounters with local and transnational legal practices, discourses, subjectivities, resistance. We shift the gaze of transnational legal scholarship away from a top-down mapping of the structures of global law, towards the situated forms of legality that are produced as legal norms from different scales and contexts circulate, interact, and encounter one another. Analyzing the phenomenology of the encounter, we develop an analytical and empirical approach to understanding these encounters by focusing on how law is constituted not solely within traditional legal organizations and institutions, but through the everyday practices, discourses, subjectivities of those mediating local, national and transnational norms.

    For access to the full article,  click here.

    Fostering a methodological “evergreen”: the Socratic debate into educational environments and public contexts. A practice to forge a more participatory, honest, and responsible society. Ivan Daldoss (Università degli Studi di Padova) 

    My contribution shows a methodological path to improve the educational environments through a specific linguistic practice, namely, the debate, conceived as a regulated relationship between opposing parties. Firstly, its great similarities with the game of chess stand out. Indeed, every chess match is played according to predetermined rules and within clear boundaries: the chessboard is the only space where black and white pieces can interact dialectically. Similarly, during a debate, opposite theses clash to confront their best arguments and thus identify which position is the prevailing one. Secondly, in the wake of this parallel, the purpose of implementing educational processes through the Socratic debate finds inspiration in concrete learning experiences: the specific case of a debating tournament is illustrated, recently held in digital form, which has been involving Italian high school students and teachers for over a decade, registering considerable participation and results. Starting from similar realities, my paper holds that new educational avenues can be imagined and developed both in higher educational institutions –such as universities– and public contexts as well, precisely because the debate is one of the ‘best practices’ to be promoted for the creation of stimulating environments. Thirdly, the article particularly argues for the need to exercise Socratic debate as a method to reach a personal dimension of truth –the goal of ‘Parrhesia’– and thus make rationally based decisions (‘choice-based learning’). Its dialectical dynamic allows for a selective comparison among the various linguistic alternatives at stake. Moreover, the ‘socratically oriented’ debate is presented to be the ideal tool for developing in those who experiment with it a sense of community belonging, as well as a set of skills that are increasingly relevant for social participation and the public dimension of existence (‘soft skills’). Furthermore, this kind of practice favors the emergence of mediative spaces (‘common grounds’) between the positions involved in the dialectical contest, thus contributing to building a more inclusive and pluralist society. Hence, the Socratic debate is displayed as a fundamental approach to forging a more participatory, honest, and responsible society.

    Women prosecuted for terrorism in the Basque Country: Deconstructing judicial, media, and NGOs discourse from a feminist perspective. Malena Maceira (Universidad de Buenos Aires)

    The aim of my research is to observe how ‘women terrorists’ are produced as subjects by existing discourses (Foucault, 1986) and if that production implies an extra element of punishment in the convictions that these women obtain. The production of subjects was observed through the critical analysis of discourses such as the ones that the justice system produces, the media, or the statements published by victims of terrorism’s organizations. 

    In the research, I selected three cases where women took part in events that were –and still are, with nuances– considered political violent acts or acts of terrorism. By using Feminist Critical Discourse Analysis (Lazar, 2007) I gathered judges’ rulings from the Audiencia Nacional and the Tribunal Supremo in Spain that involved these three women. As well, as newspaper articles from four newspapers (two regional from the Basque country and two at the national level). Finally, I gathered the victims of terrorism’s organizations statements that were made regarding these three women.

    As for the findings of the research I have obtained strong evidence that women are produced as subjects that are located remotely from the idea of subject ‘women’ without the element of violence. It seems to prevail the idea that women are no capable to exercise violence without being considered as a monstrosity. This viewpoint is more nuanced in the rulings but very much openly debated within the newspapers articles and even more when observing the victims’ organizations. In addition, I can say that in part, the extra component of punishment that society applies to women that are considered ‘deviant’ exists, and it is easily observed through how the media reflects on the amount years of punishment that these women received.

    Therefore, from this starting point, I believe that further discussions remain regarding how these women are convicted and in which way their conviction is being executed. This translates into a research project that would shed light on the execution of punishment from a feminist perspective.

    Specters of Abolition: A Decolonial Reading of Slavery, Race and Law in Catalonia. Deo Szpiga (International Institute for the Sociology of Law, UPV/EHU)

    My paper presents the main arguments and findings of my Master’s dissertation. I examine the contribution of Catalonia to the production of the current modern/colonial world-system. Through a genealogical analysis, and from postcolonial and poststructuralist epistemologies, I take the case of Catalan participation in the transatlantic slave trade to reveal how law and coloniality have co-produced a triumphalist narrative of abolition and end of slavery, while simultaneously (re)producing the ontological coloniality that was the basis for slavery in the first place, and concealing its contemporary continuities. In this sense, understanding law as a dispositif which produces subjects of colonial governmentality, thus justifying the dispossession and appropriation of knowledges, resources, and bodies in the Global South; the same technologies that, coincidentally and since late-modernity, have been employed by the imperial-colonial Spanish regime to constitute and perpetuate the status of Catalonia as a stateless nation. The paper is structured in four main axes, with a single unifying thread (i.e. the relationalities between race, power, and law): 1) law as a race-making regime; 2) slavery and the law; 3) abolition and emancipation in the 19th century; and, finally, 4) law as abolition. In this context, the interrogations that drive the dissertation are the following: 1) What role did the law play in creating, defining, and sustaining the Manichean subjectivities of slave/slave owner, colonized/colonizer?; 2) Why did the formal abolition of slavery and the slave trade through law fail to put an end to such practices?; 3) What are the paradoxes and myths of law-as-abolition, and which interests did law as a discourse of abolition serve?; 4) How does Catalonia, specifically, fit into these contradictory ontological modalities, being —at times inconcurrently, at times simultaneously— both a colonizing power and a colonized people itself?

    The coloniality of international law: The Agreement between Argentina and the IMF as a case study to critically rethink the relationship between law, power and politics. Juan Martín Liotta (International Institute for the Sociology of Law (UPV/EHU), Universidad de Buenos Aires) 

    My presentation shares to my Sociology of Law master´s dissertation.  I seek to contribute to the critical legal studies on international law and colonialism. I focus my analysis on the agreement signed between Argentina and the IMF in July 2018. This agreement has been strongly criticized for being contrary to the institution`s regulations and for supporting presidential electoral chances of a political party in 2019.  

    I use this Agreement, as a case study to argue that international law legitimizes and reproduces neocolonial relations between Global North and Global South states. This research is guided by the following questions: what role does international law play in regulating relations between states in the global North and South? How does transnational actors manage to impose their private interest and reflect them into public policies?  

    From a postcolonial and poststructuralist understanding of law and power, I  will refer to Enrique Mari´s body of work. Especially to his concept of law as a part of a dispositif that legitimizes and reproduces power relations. I further highlight the “colonial legacies” of modern law. This is, during the last centuries, law evolved pierced by political and social context of colonial expansion and adopted the strategic function of legitimizing these relations. The legal discourses reflect an ideology which aims to perpetuate dynamics of power and dominance that favor Global North states, transnational private actors and local elites. In this context, the International Monetary Fund played a necessary and key role since de 1970s in imposing neoliberal policies in Global South states, promote a transnational governance and reduce local sovereignty. The rulemakers role was then adopted by private actors, according to its own interests. This process had as a consequence the privatization of democracy.  

    The case study will be helpful to notice how this process has placed in the Argentinean context in the 21st century. I aim to reveal how international law adapts itself to legitimize neocolonial domination. 

    Pluralism of sources and human rights of children and adolescents. Laura Lora (Instituto Ambrosio L. Gioja, Universidad de Buenos Aires). 

    Following the 1994 constitutional reform in Argentina, Article 75, paragraph 17 of the Constitution establishes that Congress has the power to "recognize the ethnic and cultural pre-existence of Argentina's indigenous peoples" and "guarantee respect for their identity". It follows that the culture and, therefore, the identity of such communities must be safeguarded and that there is not only a legal interest in this, but also a constitutional interest. And, obviously, this culture can be manifested through written (laws) or unwritten (customs) norms. 

    Likewise, Article 75, paragraph 22 grants Constitutional hierarchy to the International Convention on the Rights of the Child, which in its Article 3, paragraph 1, establishes that "In all actions concerning children, whether undertaken by public or private social welfare institutions, courts of law, administrative authorities or legislative bodies, the best interests of the child shall be a primary consideration".

    I propose to reflect on the narratives of rights based on a concrete case involving the human rights of a girl living in a Wichi community in Tartagal, where the conduct of a member was judged, accused of having repeated carnal access with his stepdaughter, since her menarche, which took place when she was 9 or 11 years old, and whom he impregnated a year later.

    If you have done a presentation at the Global Meeting and you want your abstract to be uploaded, you can contact mramallo@derecho.uba.ar.

  • 5 Jul 2022 09:17 | Gonzalo Torquemada

    The digital industry has developed substantially since the beginning of the 21st century with new tools, such as social networking sites (SNSs) and apps, providing new scenarios for criminality sometimes difficult to recognize due to their digital nature. Additionally, social media has swiftly gained access to data traditionally managed by police departments, transferring it to a more public sphere. Therefore, a better understanding of these digital dynamics, not often seen from either the mental health or criminal perspectives, is needed. This paper presents HUMANIZATECH (HTECH), an empirical longitudinal research (Dec. 2015–Dec. 2021) gathering systematic data from 174 police departments worldwide on the criminal use of SNSs and apps against minors. The main findings include 1) a profile of potential victims; 2) evidence of a swift move to more sophisticated criminal dynamics related to online child exploitation and abuse (OCSEA); 3) evidence of an evolution in the use of SNSs towards human trafficking; 4) a list of 58 platforms proved to be used for luring children and adolescents; and 5) a list of 23 more platforms used for minor offences, which are under the radar of law enforcement agencies. Through its research, HTECH has gathered specific information related to the above findings for a genuine understanding of the online modus operandi from the perspectives of the criminal mind and the underage user. These will contribute to designing accurate resources for strategies by law enforcement agencies (intervention) and families (prevention). UPDATED MARCH 22.

               Keywords: Police, SNSs, Apps, Minors, Cybercrime, OCSEA, Grooming, Trafficking. https://www.cybercrimejournal.com/IJCC-3-2021%20UPDATE%20FINAL-1.pdf

  • 12 Mar 2022 21:22 | Susana Arrese (Administrator)

    Sociolegal scholars of the OC agree on a statement condemning Russian aggression on Ukraine

    The Russian Federation’s war on Ukraine and its terror attacks against civilians violate fundamental principles of law and humanity, breach Human Rights and constitute an act of aggression that should be the subject of international prosecution and indictment. As socio-legal scholars, we recognize the inherent dignity and inalienable rights of all members of the human family to be the foundation of freedom, justice, and peace in the world.  Expansionist attacks against democratic states, and denial of the right of self-determination of peoples all violate basic requirements of justice and international law.

    The Russian attack on Ukraine, ordered by President Putin further displays a manifest disdain for the values of democracy, the rule of law and the dignity of human beings. The victims of this aggression also include brave Russian citizens who demonstrate against the war and reporters who dare tell the truth about the atrocities committed by the Putin dictatorship and face flagrant Human Rights violations but the serious victims are Ukranians and all civilians living in Ukraine. The war and its consequences threaten to destroy the basis for meaningful international cooperation.

    As scholars we have the duty to recognize and raise awareness about the fact that violations of international law and military aggressions have happened in other countries, and to stand against all breaches of international law, and all violations of human rights and against the use of violence and military aggression in international relations. We therefore join the many voices demanding an immediate stop to Russian aggression, a withdrawal of Russian troops from Ukraine’s territory and the search for a diplomatic, peaceful, and politically sustainable solution of the crisis. We extend our profound sympathy to our colleagues in Ukraine, thinking very particularly of Yuriy Fedkovich Czernivtsi University, a historic symbol of our discipline, where Ehrlich developed sociology of law, to the people of Ukraine, and to the victims of Russian aggression.

    (Adam Czarnota-Poland;Aida Araceli Patiño-Mexico;Alejandro Celorio-Mexico;Alexander Kondakov-Russia;Alfred Hill-Liberia;Andrés Hernandez-Colombia;Ana Vaideanu-Romania;Andrew Goldsmith-Australia;Angela Melville-Australia;Anna Lundberg-Sweden;Anne Wallace-Australia;Annette Lansink-SouthAfrica;Antonio Rodrigues de Freitas-Brazil;Bart van Klink-The Netherlands;Ben Semple-Northern Ireland;Blacej Kaucz-Ireland;C Ernesto Gonzalez Zarate-Mexico;Carlos Lista-Argentina;Carlos Perette-Argentina;Carolyn Mckay-Australia;Colin Sumner-UK;David Wexler-Puerto Rico;Deborah Brock-Canada;Dolores Morondo-Spain;Dota Szyborska-Poland;Elijah Tukwariba  Yin-Ghana;Eugenia Relaño Pastor-Spain;Fátima el Fakih-Venezuela;Fernando Tapia-Spain;Fiammetta Bonfigli-Italy/Brazil;Filip Cyunczyk-Poland;Francesca Scamardella-Italy;Gabriela Farinha-Portugal;Gema Varona-Spain;Giovanni Torrisi-Italy;Grazyna Skapska-Poland;Heike Jung-Germany;Ihintza Palacin-France;Iker Nabaskues-;Ilse Griek-the Netherlands;Jacek Kurczewski-Poland;Jason Keith Fernandes-India;Javier de Lucas-Spain;Jernej Letnar-Slovenia;Jill Hunter-Australia;Jiri Priban-UK/Czechia;Johannes Feest-Germany;John Brigham-USA;Jose Maria Sauca-Spain;Joxerramon Bengoetxea-Spain;Karolina Kocemba-Poland;Kiyoshi Hasegawa-Japan;Kristina Cufar-Slovenia;Laura María Melián-Spain;Letizia Mancini-Italy;Linda della Raggione-Italy;Lucero Ibarra-Mexico;Luigi Cominelli-Italy;Lukasz Bojarski -Norway;Maciej Pichlak-poland;Maggy Barrere-Spain;Marcin Wróbel-Poland;Marije Mesonero-Spain;Martin Ramstedt-Germany;Masayuki Murayama-Japan;Mavis Maclean-UK;Michal Peno-Poland;Michal Stambulski-Poland;Monjuriul Ahsan-Bangladesh;Nick Frijns-The Netherlands;Nicola Giampietro-Italy;Nikolaos Intzesiloglou-Greece;Nkoli Aniekwu-Nigeria;Noe Galizia-Mexico;Paula Gisele Pelaez-Argentina;Peter Alldridge-UK;Peter Brezina-Czech Republic;Phoebe Heilig-Canada;Pierre Guibentif-Portugal;Ramiro Avila-Ecuador;Ramon Flecha-Spain;Ricardo Leon Pastor-Peru;Richard Lempert-USA;Rogelio Perez Perdomo-Venezuela;Roger Cotterrell-UK;Sara Ramshaw-Canada;Sarah Blandy-UK;Sharyn Roach Anleu-Australia;Silvana Begala - Argentina;Susanne Karstedt-Germany;Stefanie Khoury-UK;Stephan Parmentier-Belgium;Susana Arrese-Spain;Susana Santos-Portugal;Tamar Pitch-Italy;Tanya Monforte-USA;Teresa Picontó Novales-Spain;Ulrike Schultz_Germany;Valeria Verdolini-Italy;Viacheslav Tuliakov -Ukraine;Victoria Capriles-Venezuela;Vincenzo Ferrari-Italy;William L.F. Felstiner-USA;Wladimir L. R. Dias-Brazil;Xabier Arana-;Xabier Fernandez-Spain;Yordanka Bekirska-Bulgaria)

  • 3 Dec 2021 09:05 | Ihintza Palacin Mariscal

    I want to use the opportunity of celebrating the international day of the Basque language to reflect on the recent (legal) events concerning the teaching in Basque in the Northern Basque Country (Iparralde), located in France.

    In a country where unity is mistakenly synonym of uniformity, the lesser-used or minority languages are still fighting for their rightful space in education. 2021 can be marked as a year where immersive education in regional1 languages (Basque included) has been a focal point in France. The latest development on the legislation concerning the Basque language was brought this year by the law on the heritage protection of the regional languages and their promotion, known as the Molac law.

    In a nutshell, this law sought to strengthen the protection of regional languages, notably in the areas of education and diacritic signs. This would have resulted in the inclusion of immersive schooling in regional languages in the public schooling system (Article 4). This law also aimed at financially supporting the enrolment of children in schools offering the teaching of a regional language when the option was not available in their municipality (Article 6). Finally, another key point was the inclusion of the use of diacritic marks in civil status documents (Article 9).

    The French National Assembly adopted the Molac law on the 8th of April 2021, with 247 votes in favour and 76 against, and 19 abstentions. This marked a historic win for the regional languages in France. However, despite this law being adopted, it was challenged before the Constitutional Council, resulting in the decision nº2021-818.

    For this short discussion, the key element to take into account is the sanction of Article 4 by the Constitutional Council. In fact, Article 4 of the Molac law amended Article L.321-10 of the Code of Education, concerning the teaching of regional languages, adding a third point that included immersive education. The Constitutional Council poorly motivated the unconstitutionality of Article 4, arguing since immersive schooling is not limited to the teaching of a regional language, but rather uses this language as the “main language of teaching and as the language of communication in the school”, Article 4 of the Molac law breached Article 2 of the Constitution.2 Yet article 4 included immersive schooling alongside other forms of schooling, and mentioned immersive schooling should be performed without hindering “the objective of a good knowledge of French”. In other words, Article 4 added an additional choice to the parents for the schooling of their children and did not impose sending their children to an immersive classroom in a regional language. Once againthe Constitutional Council seems to automatically pair immersive schooling in a regional language with the imposition of a language other than French, hindering the teaching of regional languages.

    2021 has shown two things to the Basque-speakers of Iparralde. On the one hand, it marks an achievement with the adoption of the Molac law, yet on the other hand, still in 2021, Basque speakers know there is still a lot to fight for.  Therefore, on this December 3rd, let us remind ourselves of the still precarious situation of the Basque language in Iparralde, but more importantly, let us celebrate the achievements obtained by the perseverance of Basque and regional language speakers, in a quite difficult legal environment towards their language(s).

    If you are interested in this issue, this topic (and more), please join us for the discussion of my PhD dissertation in January 2022 hosted by the Oñati Community!

    Laster arte!

    See you soon!

    1 In France, the Basque language is listed as being a “regional language”. The author will use the term “regional language” to be consistent with the French law. However, she does not believe this is the best term to use in France to refer to these languages due to its underlying value judgments, and the delimitation of these languages to “regional matters”.

    2 “The language of the Republic shall be French.”

  • 22 Nov 2021 17:07 | Malena Rocio Maceira (Administrator)

    Voy por mi segundo invierno consecutivo y pandémico, pienso. Las mejillas coloradas del calor de la calefacción y las manos heladas. Mala circulación. Estoy sentada en el piso de mi habitación apoyada contra la pared. En la falda tengo la computadora de mi compañera. Ella está sentada al lado mío. Aunque la habitación es grande, vamos pegadas una al lado de la otra tratando de darnos ánimo. Cada cual la lee a la otra. Cada corrección se hace sin ánimo de desanimar y con amor. Sororidad, decimos y reímos también para no llorar. 

    Mientras me mira tipear me dice "¿te pone nerviosa que te mire?" y yo le digo que no, que me mete un poco de presión no más, pero que no pasa nada. Por dentro pienso que sí, que un poco nerviosa me pone porque no estoy acostumbrada a trabajar en equipo. 

    Después de que terminamos nuestras correcciones me pregunté porqué me ponía nerviosa trabajar en equipo. Y recordé que hacía unos días, o ya quizás unas semanas -el tiempo en estos contextos se percibe con mucha distorsión- otra de nuestras compañeras (no lo es formalmente porque es una visiting scholar, pero ya es como si lo fuera) había reflexionado sobre lo mismo. No sobre el trabajo en equipo, sino de que justamente, las ideas fluían muy bien cuando se compartían. Y eso fue lo que me sacudió por un momento. Toda nuestra carrera universitaria vamos armando un recorrido de soledad tal que el trabajo en equipo no es un beneficio. Es un yunque. 

    Los espacios de crecimiento académico que atravesé durante los últimos diez años estuvieron marcados por la soledad: si querés algo bien hecho, hacelo vos mismx. Si querés las cosas hechas, no delegues. No confíes en lxs demás. Nunca sabés cuándo están al lado tuyo y después, chau: tu idea se fue con ellxs. 

    Esta y otra cantidad de ideas tan esperanzadoras se forjan día a día en un contexto de aprendizaje capitalista, clasista y jerárquico en el que quienes no nos sentimos comodxs, tenemos que seguir avanzando. 

    Sin embargo, algo pasó. Esa incomodidad del trabajo colectivo vino para sacudir lo que tenía bastante adormecido. La incomodidad del registro del otrx. Las lógicas aprehendidas en los últimos años llevan tiempo de deconstrucción y cierto es que estos espacios como la Residencia, como la Oñati Community vienen a mostrarnos que hay que darse el espacio.

    Las condiciones del contexto son apabullantes: miles de kilómetros de casa, un frío calador de huesos, pocas horas de sueño, un cerebro fragmentado en idiomas. 

    En ese contexto de vulnerabilidad es que me quiebro y algo aparece. La posibilidad de identificación con quien está adelante. Desde la diferencia, desde las similitudes. 

    El imperativo de la soledad como garantía del trabajo bien hecho se desdibuja y empiezan a calar hondo otras como tales. Lo individual deja de ser importante cuando la lectura compañera es quien le da el tono que faltaba. El trabajo de unx de nosotrxs ya se convierte en el trabajo de todxs. No es una sola cabeza pensando únicamente un tema si no que en el almuerzo hablamos de cómo hacer una pregunta correcta para ver quién puede responderla. Entre este pequeño colectivo de personas de varios países se construye una identidad propia: la del grupo de estudiantes de un mismo máster en una pequeña ciudad. 

    Por eso creo que más allá de cualquier aprendizaje académico -que por cierto ya observo su vastedad- el más importante es cómo trabajar en la academia. Y por si fuera poco y de la pandemia sabemos que salimos entre todxs, con esto solo lo refuerzo. 

    El conocimiento tiene que ser una construcción colectiva. De lo contrario solo puede perecer en el llano de mi propia cabeza. 

    ¡Eskerrik asko a todxs por creer y apoyar la construcción colectiva de conocimiento!

    Malena Maceira (malemace@gmail.com)

  • 19 Nov 2021 16:30 | Cansu Bostan

    On November 30, 2021, I will give a talk at the IISL with the collaboration of the Department of Equality, Justice and Social Policy, Basque Government. This is very meaningful for me for many different reasons.

    Seven years later, now, as a visiting PhD candidate to complete my doctoral thesis, I am back in Oñati, Residence and the Institute where I studied my Masters in 2013-4. It is not a coincidence that I am back after all these years. Oñati, Institute, and the lovely friends I have here have always facilitated my journey in academia. Three years after my Master’s, when I decided to return to academia to conduct my PhD in 2017, I was working for an NGO in Istanbul with flexible hours. This made it not easier, as friends who have been in the process would relate to since even reaching out to the announced positions after getting detached from the academic environment requires a full-time commitment. It was dear Susana Arrese’s social media post through which I saw the announcement of recruitment of PhD Candidates in the Sociology of Law Department, Lund University, wherein I ended up spending my last four years. Oñati Community, which I am happily a part of, provides this solidarity and equal access to everyone against the backdrop of isolated networking in contemporary academia.

    Oñati not only provided me this access to my current affiliation but also inspired the topic of my forthcoming PhD thesis, which is co-supervised by one of my previous teachers from the IISL Master’s and current Scientific Director of the Institute, Martin Ramstedt, together with Ida Nafstad, Associate Professor in Lund University. My PhD research project was initiated by a curiosity provoked but left unsatisfied by my MA research project’s fieldwork conducted in Şırnak, Northern Kurdistan, in 2014, when the Peace Process collapsed in 2015 was still ongoing in Turkey. Throughout that research, in which I looked into the contesting discourses on peace, I came to realize how embedded the imaginary of death into the subjectivities in the region. From the organization of the spaces to the way the narratives were formulated, it was impossible to ignore the domination of death haunting daily life, which can be illustrated by the word choices of one of the respondents of my interviews conducted within the scope of that research. “We missed it by ten minutes,” said she, while telling me how they survived the Şırnak massacre in 1992, “a mortar shell hit our house 10 minutes after we left.” When introduced within the broader context that my fieldwork provided, those words echoed that death was no longer experienced as the end of life but what defines it. Her choice of words revealed death as a reference point: ‘missing it’ instead of ‘surviving it,’ arousing my curiosity regarding the boundaries of the law. How could law be responsive to such an experience shaped by the destruction of the linear flow of life ending with death when its scope was limited to life and living and its temporality to linearity?

    Tracing this curiosity, I conducted ethnographic fieldwork in Amed, Northern Kurdistan, between April-September 2019 for my PhD project, and my thesis, during the analysis, revealed the contesting and competing formulations of justice in Northern Kurdistan as what enables the movement and responsiveness of law in different ways. This ethnographic contextualization and disclosure eventually informed the concern of my inquiry in this study around the question of how the law responds to different justice aspirations in Northern Kurdistan and how its formations change when it attempts to be responsive to them. Against the backdrop of the Necropolitical practices of the Turkish State in Northern Kurdistan marked by the gravelessness in different forms such as enforced disappearances, mass graves, unidentified murders, destruction of the cemeteries and gravestones, my thesis, and also the talk I will give, a) reveal the exclusions of the modern spatiotemporal boundaries of the nation-state, its law, and justice narrative of Turkishness, b) explore the subjective experiences forming justice aspirations in Northern Kurdistan and their translations into the experience-distant language of the state law, and c) trace the appearing and disappearing legal spatialities in Northern Kurdistan, beyond the state law.

    If you are interested, I am looking forward to discussing my project with you all, friends and colleagues from the Oñati Community. If you can make it, let's talk about human rights and justice and imagine the paths for sustainable peace worldwide within the platform facilitated by Basque Country, whose memory would provide us with significant points to learn from in this quest for peace and justice.

    For more information about the talk, please check the events section.

    Cansu Bostan

  • 6 Oct 2021 19:49 | Ihintza Palacin Mariscal

    Ihintza Palacin Mariscal, a former Master student (2014-2015) cordially invites you to participate in the panel discussion at the Fundamental Rights Forum 2021 organised by the EU’s Fundamental Rights Agency.

    The panel titled “Rethinking Cultural Diversity: Discrimination and Difference in Europe and Beyond” will bring together four EUI researchers, Anna Krisztian, Ihintza Palacin Mariscal, Raghavi Viswanath, and Timothy Jacob-Owens, who will share insights from cutting-edge socio-legal research on cultural diversity, focusing on internally contested, cross-border, and supranational aspects of culture(s. Our session is scheduled for Monday, 11 October from 15:30 to 16:30. 

    In order to participate, please register in advance at: https://hybrid.fundamentalrightsforum.eu/signup and sign up for our session! 

    The Fundamental Rights Forum is organised by the Fundamental Rights Agency and will take place on 11 - 12 October 2021. The full programme of the Forum 2021 can be found at: https://hybrid.fundamentalrightsforum.eu/Programme

    You can sign up for as many sessions as you wish. 

    We hope to see you there!

  • 2 Sep 2021 22:31 | Amanda Kovalczuk

    by Amanda Kovalczuk (amandakovalczuk@gmail.com) and Izabela Zonato (izabelazonato@gmail.com)

    The ideas for writing this text came up in a conversation between the two of us, Izabela and Amanda – both master’s students at the IISL from classes of 2018 and 2019, respectively – about how to manage the pressures for publishing in academia. Our main concern was, in a time in which budget restriction and job insecurity hassle Brazilian academics and postgraduates, how to find balance between putting ideas out to the public and thoroughly processing data analyses and results. While the first often stands as a requirement for academics, it is no surprise that drastic cuts in funding, as well as the effects of the Covid crisis in the country, are severely affecting academic performance and health of Brazilian students. In face of that, we decided to put together a text, suggesting our guiding question as follows: is there a way to keep up to excellence standards in academia, while still conserving a sense of satisfaction and fulfillment within the difficult conditions that are posed? Can our writing process still be carried out as an enriching experience, other than simply responding to pressures for publication and risking burnout? 

    At the time we had our conversation, Izabela was reading The Burnout Society, by the Korean philosopher Byung-Chul Han (2015). Amanda, on the other hand, had just came across a beautiful piece by the black, lesbian feminist Audre Lorde (1991), in which the author addressed uses of the erotic. We gathered the reflections both authors inspired us to elaborate in this short text. We depart from Audre Lorde’s perspective on the erotic as a creative life force that moves towards excellence and self-affirmation, and from the conception of burnout as an exhaustive state of hyperactivity and self-referentiality, as suggested by Byung-Chul Han. Considering the difficulties for the first to thrive in the face of the conditions imposed by the latter, we situate these reflections in the Brazilian academic context.

    According to Lorde (1991), the erotic is a deeply female (though not in an essentialist fashion), commonly unrecognized and unused resource that touches the spiritual, the physical, and the emotional realm. For her, the Western society is rooted in “the suppression of the erotic in our lives” (1991, p. 88), as it naturalizes a system that “robs our work of its erotic value, its erotic power and life appeal and fulfillment” (1991, p. 89).

    The erotic, for Lorde, beyond any sexual meaning, conveys a creative, living force that encourages a self-affirmative posture that can be present each everyday activity. It consists of “an internal sense of satisfaction to which, once we have experienced it, we know we can aspire” (Lorde, 1991, p. 88). This internal sense of satisfaction and completion can be made conscious in every activity we engage in, as it is not related to the character of the activity itself, rather to one’s implication in it. Likewise, it can also be used to encourage excellence in everything we do, such as work and writing processes, and is most fostered by sharing deeply with others. As the author explains, “within the celebration of the erotic in all our endeavors, my work becomes a conscious decision – a longed-for bed which I enter gratefully and from which I rise up empowered” (Lorde, 1991, p. 88).

    The current Brazilian academic context, however, boosts anything but an erotic working process. In face of funding cuts, and of an increasingly scarce prospect of teaching positions, competition and hyperproductivity are fostered. While some postgraduate students simply decide to refocus and pursue non-academic careers, those who remain are eager to answer questions such as this: how will some of us be able to succeed and fill in such scarce positions in universities? What should one do in order to stand out? A general feeling of burnout is then stimulated: not an individual, psychological condition, but a systemically induced fatigue that relates to a general sense of acceleration and hyperactivity, as if they were the only path for succeeding. 

    In Byung-Chul Han’s interpretation (2015), we live in a performance society that leads to a depressive state in which the late-modern subjects tend to feel like losers. They inhabit a social unconscious that feeds a constant seek for productivity, while paradoxically produces tiredness. Thistiredness, in the terms posed by Byung-Chul Han (2015), has also relational consequences, as it is a lonely, individualist, and isolated state.

    Tiredness and insufficiency are then produced in a never-ending process of escalation of achievement expectations. In it, the feeling of completion in having reached a goal is never present. Feeling that no achievement is enough, and no final goal exists, the late-modern individual is incapable to rest and to appreciate what has already been accomplished, living in constant shame for what has not yet been done (Han, 2015).

    Byung-Chul Han (2015) suggests that, lacking awareness of the consequences of these processes, the achievement-subjects are unable to say no. They constantly believe themselves to be capable of doing anything, and tend to live in a state of self-comparison. They push themselves to overcome their own capacities until they reach a psychic collapse state - the burnout. The burnout, in that sense, stands as the pathological consequence of self-exploitation.

    By considering both Byung-Chul Han’s and Audre Lorde’s works integratedly, and in the face of achievement-oriented practices in some academic spaces, we suggest that the overworking state in which many postgraduate students find themselves often prevents the time to seek pleasure and emotional connection. In Lorde’s (1991) terms, it may leave us less erotic, and less conscious in our myriad daily activities - even in our own research and writing processes. Likewise, as posed by Han (2015, p. 18), we often may find ourselves in a fleeting state, in which we lack vigor, and in which “merely working and merely living define and condition each other”.

    We started this text by posing some quite ambitious questions. While we surely do not have the answers for that, we were willing to offer our reflections on the issue. We also intended to publicly remark that, perhaps quite ironically, a quite important part of young researchers like ourselves have pursued academic careers because we saw in it a space where we could explore our restless curiosity towards the social world. We shared, in the words of Audre Lord (1991), an eros in our intellectual activity. We may not know exactly how it may keep flourishing in times like these, but we are sure that making our individual creative process collective may be a first successful step towards it.

    We are looking forward to hearing your thoughts on the matter.


    Han, B. C. (2015). The burnout society. Stanford California Press.

    Lorde, A. (1991). The Uses of the Erotic: The Erotic as Power. In Gray, P. H. The uses of theory. Text and Performance Quarterly, 11(3), 267–277. https://doi.org/10.1080/10462939109366014.

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