Call for Papers: Empirical & Socio-legal Methods in International Law Masterclass

Published 26 July 2018

We are pleased to announce this call for early career researchers, including PhDs, post-docs, and junior faculty, for a masterclass with Dr. Veronika Fikfak (University of Cambridge) and Dr. Sara Dezalay (Cardiff University), on 20 November at The Asser Institute in The Hague.

The masterclass will focus on empirical and socio-legal research methods addressing practices and institutions of international law. We aim to bring together research projects in international law that use empirical and socio-legal methods to study institutional objectives, institutional effects, and day-to-day practices and experiences among its practitioners. The purpose of the masterclass is to explore the opportunities and limitations of diverse research methods for the study of law and legal practice while reflecting critically on our engagement as researchers with different methodological possibilities. In addition to exploring and interrogating methodological developments, we will consider fundamental questions such as: What are the limits to the sorts of insights and answers that the empirical study of law allows? Do socio-legal methods have politics? What is the relationship between empirical study and sociology-of-law methods?

As a possible subtheme, we encourage (but will not limit) attention to issues of reproduction versus transformation in international legal-institutional practices. For this subtheme, we propose to explore sites of potential institutional change by focusing empirical and socio-legal research on the networks and practices that constitute institutions of international law. We also invite attention to the structural conditions that favour reproduction of status quo conditions in institutions of international law.

In collaboration with the Dutch Socio-legal Society (VSR) and the Royal Dutch Society for International Law (KNVIR), we aim to contribute to the network for socio-legal research in international law in and around the Netherlands, and to foster experimentation and open discussion about methods in the field.

To apply, please submit an abstract of not more than 300 words summarizing your research question/s and method/s, demonstrating the particular methodological issues or questions that you (intend to) raise. Accepted participants will be asked to submit a paper of 3,000 words on these methodological dimensions of your research project by 2 November.

Applications are due on 17 September and can be sent to the attention of Geoff Gordon at