Third PILAGG Seminar – 16th October – Global Law and Interdisciplinary Inquiry, Alexander Panayotov


The interdisciplinary collaboration between law and social science has often been hailed as a promising avenue for studying law and globalization. In reality, however, this collaboration has been stymied by diverging disciplinary discourses, conflicting research practices, and incompatible methods for evaluating scholarly findings. I elucidate the possibility conditions for a productive engagement between law and social science. After laying out the obstacles to this engagement, I offer arguments for reconciling the differences.

Specifically, the “Legalization in World Politics” (LWP) framework is used as a starting point to evaluate both the strengths and weaknesses of the social science approaches to law. I contend that both law and social science can engage in a productive cross-fertilization by identifying common unifying themes such as jurisdictional politics. This theme combines social scientists’ strive for generalizations and legal scholars’ fine-grained analysis of complex technical legal issues. The paper defines jurisdictional politics, lays out a generic model for its constitution, and positions it in a transnational context. In this context, I also investigate the promise of deploying social mechanisms to explain both the process of legal change and the emergence of legal order. Four such mechanisms are identified: assertion, diffusion, layering, and conversion. Subsequent examples illustrate their operation. Hopefully, this contribution will stimulate scholars to partake in interdisciplinary work and formulate alternative strategies for exploring their research puzzles.

(Abstract of the paper to be discussed during the seminar)


Discussants : Prof. Véronique CHAMPEIL-DESPLATS (Université Paris X – Méthodologies du droit et des sciences du droit, Dalloz 2014) et Prof. Jérôme SGARD (Sciences Po – CECI, Professeur d’économie politique).

 When? On Friday 16th October, 2.30 – 5.30 pm

Where? At Sciences Po Law School, 13 rue de l’Université, 75007 Paris, Salle de réunion (4th floor).