Archives de catégorie : Projets de recherches


États et cultures juridiques autochtones : un droit en quête de légitimité ou, plus simplement, le projet Legitimus, constitue un partenariat international de recherche comparative qui cherche à mieux comprendre les conditions de la mise en place, au Canada et ailleurs, de systèmes de droit qui organisent, sur une base plus égalitaire, la collaboration des cultures juridiques autochtones et non autochtones afin de contribuer à une gouvernance plus efficace.

Pourquoi le surnom Legitimus? Notre choix s’est arrêté sur ce mot latin, qui signifie à la fois « fixé, établi par la loi » et « qui est conforme aux règles, régulier » parce qu’il concilie les deux idées importantes de loi (et donc d’État) et de règles coutumières en plus de souligner un autre élément important du titre long : la légitimité.


Les systèmes normatifs endogènes des autochtones ont été largement ignorés par les institutions officielles. Portés par l’oralité et caractérisés par l’absence de formalisme, ils sont difficilement accessibles aux chercheurs non autochtones et donc très peu connus en dehors du monde autochtone. Nous misons sur une relation de solidarité et de confiance avec nos partenaires autochtones pour rompre les solitudes juridiques.

La légitimité du droit est un facteur essentiel pour la vie en société, puisqu’elle induit non pas un sentiment d’obéissance subie, mais un sentiment actif de respect des relations sociales et juridiques. Notre recherche partenariale aide à mieux comprendre les manifestations, les causes et les conséquences des conflits de légitimité normative entre les ordres juridiques autochtones et étatiques, et à identifier les procédés novateurs de gestion de ces conflits.


PROJECT : THE FUTURE OF LEGAL GENDER. A critical law reform project

This three-year project on the Future of Legal Gender is funded by the UK Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC).  It runs from May 2018 until April 2021.

The aim of the project is to critically explore the question of legal gender (a term we use for the different ways in which law explicitly treats people as having a gender or sex  that is stable, unitary, binary and carried with them).  What would be the social, cultural and political implications if the ways state law recognised people’s sex/ gender radically changed?  What concerns and challenges does this proposal invoke?  The project will draw on experiences in other countries, the legal approach taken towards other social characteristics, such as religion, ethnicity and sexuality, and the views of activists, policy-makers, NGOs, lawyers and the wider public.


Aims of the Project

  1. To critically explore different ways of reforming legal gender status, focusing on England and Wales, while drawing on experiences in other countries, the different legal approaches taken towards other social characteristics, such as religion, disability, ethnicity and sexuality, and the views of activists, policy-makers, NGOs, lawyers and the wider public.
  2. To contribute to ongoing policy and political discussions relating to current legal reform proposals, while taking a longer-term approach.
  3. To understand different people’s hopes and worries in relation to both the current legal framework and different approaches to legal reform.
  4. To contribute to broader discussions about the changing character of gender and the contribution law can make to how it is changing.

Adopting an intersectional approach, the project will address the implications of different reform proposals for single-sex/gender activities, services and spaces, the wider equality agenda and other fields of statutory law.  The project will also explore what legal gender status means to people and whether it matters in their everyday lives.

Legal Anthropology : UNiversity of bern

Institute of Social Anthropology : Legal Anthropology

Legal anthropology studies the social meaning and importance of law. It deals with how law is created, how law sustains and changes other social institutions and how law structures social behaviours. At the same time, it raises the question of how law itself is socially constructed. This dual way of looking at the law, as both shaped by society and shaping society, is fundamental to the perspective of legal anthropology.

In the early 20th century, questions of social control and integration were key subjects for research within legal anthropology. Later, these were superseded by an interest in conflict and dispute resolution. Already during colonial rule, questions of how conflicts in legal norms shape multiple legal systems (legal pluralism) were raised. With the globalisation of law, these issues are gaining new significance. When researchers observe the processes by which legal norms become transnational, it is first a question of studying the normative changes that are initiated as a result of the “import” or “export” of law – be they human rights, specific types of ownership law, or the standards for legal procedure. Second, questions about the role of law in cementing or changing social inequality, the conditions in which legal means can be used to change social order, and the ambivalent relationship between law and power are increasingly attracting interest.

Legal anthropology constitutes a central focus in the master program ATS.

Reseach projects on: Legal Anthropology :

Law and order in urban India

Prof. Julia Eckert

Studying everyday policing in Mumbai, I analyses police interpretations of law and the multifaceted social, economic and political relations that such interpretation is embedded in. I thereby trace the negotiations of rights, norms of justice and authority that occur in everyday interactions between citizens and state officials, as well as among state officials themselves. I am particularly interested in how security legislation has come to define the limits of legitimate political articulation.

Aiding and abetting: juridifiying transnational liability

Prof. Julia Eckert

The attribution of responsibility in world society is increasingly a field of contestation. On the one hand, the perception of causal and moral links reaching far in space and time are ever more explicitly pronounced; on the other hand, the very complexity of these links often engenders a fragmentation of responsibility both in law as well as in moral commitment. Current institutions of responsibility in law appear to abstract from enabling contexts, resulting in appeals to a global community of concern without corresponding obligatory commitments. Focussing on the use of „aiding and abetting“ in strategic litigation as well as jurisdiction, I trace the contestations over global responsibility and liability.

Doing Credibility; The Construction of Credibility in Swiss Asylum Procedures

Prof. Julia Eckert, Laura Affolter, Johanna Fuchs, Raphaël Rey

In deciding whether asylum seekers are granted asylum or not, immigration officers and judges in Switzerland as elsewhere must not only decide whether an asylum seeker fits the definition of a refugee. They must also assess the credibility of the asylum seeker’s statements. It is precisely this assessment and decision-making process Johanna Fuchs, Laura Affolter and Raphaël Rey analyse in this project. The researchers focus on four of the main actors involved in asylum procedures: asylum seekers, legal advisors, officers working for the State Secretariat for Migration as well as judges and clerks in the Federal Administrative Court. By looking at these different actors the project examines how credibility and the lack of credibility are defined and and how credibility is negotiated in the decision-making process.

Link to the Project

Law in Protest: Transnational Struggles for Corporate Liability

Prof. Julia Eckert, Angela Lindt M.A.

Negative impacts on the environment and on the livelihood of local populations caused by transnational corporations (TNCs) operating in the so-called Global South have become a politically contested issue. Holding the companies involved or their employees legally liable has often been difficult because of jurisdictional or governance obstacles. Regardless the difficult legal situation, there are worldwide growing attempts to bring TNCs to court for violations of human rights or for serious environmental damages. By referring to a transnational discourse of human rights and by using international narratives of law and justice, local protest groups make use of law as an instrument to legitimize their claims and to gain international support for their struggles. In most of the court cases social movements, non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and transnational networks of human rights lawyers play a major role. These networks often include not only European cause lawyers and the concerned plaintiffs in the operation area of the defendant TNC, but also link plaintiff groups, local NGOs and lawyers of independent court cases in different countries.
A considerable gap in research exists concerning how advocacy organisations and local plaintiffs influence each other with respect to normative evaluation, political goals and litigation strategies. The project “Law in Protest: Transnational Struggles for Corporate Liability” enquires into these changes, examining the normative change born from these litigation processes both among local plaintiffs and in the legal norms adopted to litigate against TNCs. Our project assumes that lawsuits and the practices of “case-making” are social processes that, on the one hand, reflect existing power relations between actors involved, but, on the other hand, provide space for negotiations about norms, interpretations and goals.
By conducting empirical ethnographic research on the work of lawyers and human rights activists in different settings and places, the overarching aim of the project is to find out whether the strategic application of national law leads to normative – legal as well as social – change. We content that by a) enquiring into the evolving strategies of local plaintiffs using national laws against TNCs, b) the strategic litigation of cause lawyering by transnational legal NGOs, and c) the relationships between these different actors involved in the court cases we can gain insights into the normative changes occurring at these different levels. We will analyse the practice of strategic litigation applied by cause lawyers in Germany and the United Kingdom (subproject A) as well as by social movements and local NGOs in Peru (subproject B). We investigate how local protest movements and international law firms introduce transnational discourses of human rights and social justice into individual national court cases with the intent to enforce social and political change on the local level. By studying these transnational human rights networks in the field of corporate liability, the project deals with a key issue of contemporary social anthropology.

The Moral Economy of Assam Tea Production

Anna-Lena Wolf, M.A.

The current PhD project is an ethnography on the moral economy of tea production on tea plantations in Assam. I am analysing how various entangled and contradictory moral frameworks – underlying the plantation economy of Assam tea – are conceived of, embodied, negotiated and transformed ‘…to understand the everyday-grounded logics of macro-economic (and political) processes…’ (Palomera & Vetta 2016: 428). I am furthermore interested in how structural inequalities are generated within/by the tea plantation economy in Assam and how they are maintained or challenged, for example, by forms of state regulation, moral sentiments or forms of protest.

The emergence of global tax payers: the (re-)making of international business tax law

Prof. Julia Eckert, Dr. des. Johanna Mugler

This ethnographic research project explores the emergence of global tax norms and the negotiation and making of international tax law. By studying the actors and the processes through which international tax law develops, this project contributes to the understanding of the making and change of these international laws and global norms. More

Dr Emilie Cloatre : Law, Knowledges and the Making of ‘Modern Healthcare’

Dr Emilie Cloatre‘s 5-year Wellcome Investigator Award (2017-2022) aims to explore the regulation of traditional and alternative medicines, using case studies from Europe and Africa: France and England; Ghana and Senegal; Mauritius and La Reunion.

This 5-year Wellcome Investigator Award (2017-2022) aims to explore the regulation of traditional and alternative medicines, in Europe and Africa. It will interrogate both the historical and socio-cultural context of current regulatory systems, and their effects on local practices.

As millions worldwide rely on traditional and alternative medicines for their everyday healthcare, the question of how to regulate such practices is high on policy agendas. Such regulation engages fundamental issues, including: the balancing of patient safety and autonomy of choice; the conciliation of traditional cultural practices with the demands of modern medical standards; social justice and access to health; the socio-cultural and postcolonial shaping of medicine. However, we lack evidence of the relative benefits, limitations and effects of particular regulatory frameworks on such policy concerns.

This project aims to address this pressing gap in knowledge. It will do so through a socio-legal exploration of the regulation of traditional and alternative medicines in two regions where policy conversations have been particularly intense, and current regulatory systems remarkably varied (Europe and Africa). The project’s key goals are to: critically assess the effects of contrasting regulatory frameworks on traditional and alternative medical practices, and their position in public health systems; consider how regulation can address the challenges raised by traditional and alternative medicines in a fair, effective and sustainable manner; and foster new conversations across academia and policy on relevant experiences, strategies and ways-forward.

The project will focus strategically on six case studies in Europe and Africa, organized in three sub-regional strands, that illustrate most vividly key policy-debates while giving significant scope for addressing broader conceptual questions: France and England; Ghana and Senegal; Mauritius and La Reunion.

To know more :