Saturday 26 May 2018, 09:00

Entangled Legalities Workshop

Various speakers

Two days workshop for the SNF project "Interface Law: Legal Interactions between Spheres of Authority in Global Economic Governance"


Entangled Legalities Workshop

The ways in which scholarship and practice approach law today have mostly been shaped in the twentieth century on the model of unitary legal systems in the modern state. However, as is increasingly clear, unitary law gives way to a multiplicity of normative orders in many areas, especially those characterized by strong transnational forces – and in many ways, this revives a multiplicity that has been characteristic of law in earlier times. As a result, the in-between spaces of law – the interfaces between bodies of norms – have found increasing attention, and terms such as global legal pluralism, interlegality, or métissage have come to describe the challenge that comes with multiplicity. But we do not yet have a broader picture of how legal practice is changing in these circumstances, how the interfaces between orders are constructed, and what consequences we need to draw in theoretical terms for our understanding of law. In this workshop, we seek to tackle these questions and better understand the ways in which law is being reconfigured through engagements with plural normative orders. One intuition behind this is that, rather than start from the idea of separate and potentially conflicting systems of law, we should be open to the possibility of a greater entanglement, or enmeshment of normative orders, which would make multiplicity not just a phenomenon at the boundaries, but one that is constitutive of legal orders themselves. Drawing on pre-national as well as post-national examples, the workshop will ask questions such as:

  • How do actors – judges, regulators, societal actors – construe the relation of the multiple normative orders they are faced with? How did they do so before the consolidation of the nation-state?
  • What norms, procedural and substantive, do and did they invoke to structure these relations? How do they deal with conflicts at the interfaces between them?
  • When does it make sense to think of normative orders as enmeshed rather than separate? How much ofsuch enmeshment do we see where?
  • And what consequences flow from the greater centrality of these interfaces for legal theory and legal reasoning? How is law being – and has been – thought of under conditions of multiplicity?

Bringing together scholars from different backgrounds – history, sociology, anthropology, law – the workshop will
aim at developing our analytical instrumentarium and charting ways forward in the study of entangled laws. The
workshop is designed to be small, with less than twenty participants. Participants are not asked to present fullydeveloped
papers but rather short think pieces (around 10 pages) to serve as a stimulus for discussion in the

Closed workshop - by invitation only.


Funding organisation: