Call for Papers Sociological Perspectives on International Tribunals: Formal and Informal Rules, Functions and Symbols



Event Date: 

11/8/18 to 11/9/18

Location name: 

Luxembourg City, Luxembourg

Call for Papers

Sociological Perspectives on International Tribunals: Formal and

Informal Rules, Functions and Symbols
Max Planck Institute Luxembourg for Procedural Law
Luxembourg, 8-9 November 2018

A growing community of scholars has recently been bringing international law into conversation with sociological research and theory. The fourth workshop on the sociology of international law aims to focus on various sociological aspects of international tribunals.

International tribunals are embedded in social relations and adjudicators are affected by particular socio-cultural features existing in their own as well as related communities (including regional, national or professional groups). Thus, for example, international judges and arbitrators are often influenced by the values and historical narrative ('collective memories') prevailing in their communities; and the implementation of their decision is affected by the legitimacy they possess in their communities. By the same token, particular beliefs and identities shared by community members (or 'norm entrepreneurs') may characterize different tribunals in different manners. Socio-cultural factors do not only constrain tribunals but also equip them with resources, thus enabling them to construct strategies of action. In certain cases, international tribunals take part in social change; and may be involved, for example, in the diffusion of values, historical narratives, or concepts of justice. International courts constitute social groups, thus developing their own distinctive socio-cultural features (such as language, formal and informal norms, symbols, and socialization processes). These features naturally interact with external communities and influence the ways tribunals interpret existing legal rules while developing new ones.

We seek innovative contributions from scholars whose work is situated at those disciplinary boundaries, broadly understood. Papers will discuss diverse socio-cultural issues involved in the operation and impact of international tribunals. Possible paper topics may include: interactions between formal procedural rules and informal norms (such as precedent or voting rules); formal and social functions of tribunals; symbolic aspects of tribunals’ proceedings and their decisions (such as those relating to collective memories); legal cultures (national and international ones) of international adjudication; adjudicators’ socialization and social identities of tribunals; socio-cultural factors influencing the diffusion of procedural rules across international tribunals; diverging/converging scope conditions between a rationalist and socio-cultural (constructivist) paradigm on international tribunals; and the production of knowledge and cognitive aspects of the work of such tribunals.

The workshop will be held on 8-9 November 2018 at the Max Planck Institute Luxembourg for Procedural Law

Abstracts of no more than 300 words should be sent to Nathalie Perrin by 18 May 2018, and should include the author's name, affiliation, and full contact information. Decisions regarding inclusion in the workshop program will be sent by 17 July 2018.

To allow all participants to read the papers and seriously discuss each one, all participants are expected to provide discussion papers by 7 October 2018. For selected presenters, the Max Planck Institute Luxembourg for Procedural Law will cover costs associated with travel and accommodation.

Steering Committee:
Hélène Ruiz Fabri, Moshe Hirsch, Sungjoon Cho, Andrew Lang, Ron Levi, and Mikael

Contact email: