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Call for Papers: Research Workshop – Sociological Perspectives on International Economic Law and Human Rights Law

8 May 2020 @ 9:00 am – 9 May 2020 @ 6:00 pm Europe/Rome Timezone
Robert Schuman Centre for Advanced Studies, European University Institute, Italy

International law is rooted in communities, influencing and affected by social groups and their socio-cultural features. Thus, a variety of socio-cultural factors and processes are intertwined in the formation, interpretation and implementation of international law. This fifth workshop on the sociology of international law focuses on various sociological aspects pertaining to international economic law and human rights law, as well as to interrelationships between these two major legal fields. Contributors will explore diverse interactions between sociological concepts (such as identity, socialisation, collective memory, social control or frames) and broad range of legal rules and institutions in these spheres. Contributors are particularly welcome to submit proposals in the following areas:

1. Sociological aspects of international trade law, investment law, intellectual property rights or economic development, including socio-cultural aspects of trade in certain goods and services; cultural exceptions in international trade and investment law; regional economic integration and regional identity; organisational culture of international economic institutions (such as the WTO, ICSID or UNCTAD); the social dimension of recent developments in these fields (such as the crisis in appointments to the WTO Appellate Body, the growing ‘trade war’ between the US and China, or the EU Multilateral Investment Court initiative); and sociological aspects of economic development (including the interactions between rule of law, economic development and cultural features).

2. The sociological dimension of international human rights law and institutions, including interactions between human rights protection and social values, human rights and ideology, social control mechanisms and the enforcement of human rights rules, international actors’ identity and promotion of human rights worldwide, socio-cultural aspects (such as collective memory or organisational culture) of various human rights bodies and tribunals.

3. Sociological issues involved in interactions between international human rights protection and international economic law, including socio-cultural explanation of interrelationships between the WTO law and human rights protection or interactions between investment tribunals’ jurisprudence and human rights protection, human rights conditions in programs relating to trade preferences to developing countries (such as GSP schemes) or in free trade areas agreements, socio-cultural exceptions in international economic treaties (such as the ‘public morals’ exception in the GATT or ‘cultural exception’ in the recent US-Mexico-Canada Agreement (‘NAFTA 2.0’).


To apply 

Please electronically submit an abstract of maximum 300 words and your CV using the link below by 15 October 2019.

Applicants will be informed of the results of the selection process by 30 November 2019. If selected, we will ask you to submit a discussion paper of 3000 words by 10 April 2020. 

Unfortunately, we cannot cover expenses related to travel and accommodation for all participants.  However, the European University Institute will offer a limited number of scholarships to contribute to the travel and accommodation expenses of selected early career researchers who do not have access to sufficient funding.  To apply for a scholarship, please include in your application, in addition to your abstract and CV, a short motivational letter stating why you are not able to cover your travel expenses, how much funding you would need, and how participation in the workshop fits your research plans. 



15 October 2019 – deadline for submission of abstracts and scholarship applications

30 November 2019 – applicants will be informed of the results of the selection process

10 April 2020 – deadline for submission of short papers

8-9 May 2020 – workshop


Steering Committee

Jürgen Kurtz (European University Institute), Sungjoon Cho (Chicago-Kent College of Law), Moshe Hirsch (Hebrew University of Jerusalem), Andrew Lang (University of Edinburgh), Ron Levi (University of Toronto), Mikael Madsen (iCourts, University of Copenhagen) and Hélène Ruiz Fabri (Max Planck Institute Luxembourg for International, European and Regulatory Procedural Law).


Apply here