Workshop 4: Socio-Legal Lab: Introduction to law in action

lecturer Lisa Hahn, Siddharth de Souza (HU Berlin)
target group: beginners
language: English
location: seminar room 3, convention centre by the observatory

The Socio-Legal Lab will provide a space for PhD students who would like to apply socio-legal methods in their research projects but face theoretical/methodological challenges in doing so. It aims to create a collaborative learning atmosphere to discuss and ideate about what it means to do socio-legal research.
The first part of the workshop will provide an overview of key debates in socio-legal research and give an insight into different methodological schools that are prominent in the field. Challenges of interdisciplinarity will be discussed along common dichotomies such as micro/macro structures, critical/engaged/applied knowledge production and descriptive-analytical/normative-dogmatic approaches. Drawing from pre-read articles and the interdisciplinary expertise of the participants, ideas will be developed on how to methodologically bridge these gaps.
Thereafter, participants will delve deeper into questions on ‘data’ and different ways of conducting, ordering and analyzing it. Participants will be introduced to different methods and encouraged to critically reflect upon their underlying methodological assumptions. Practical exercises will illustrate the challenges of methodology in action.

required reading:

  • Banakar, Reza, Normativity in Legal Sociology. Methodological Reflections on Law and Regulation in Late Modernity, New York 2014./punkt>
  • Cane, Peter/ Kritzer, Herbert, Oxford Handbook of Empirical Legal Research, New York 2012, Chapters 37, 38, 39.
  • Sarat, Austin, The Blackwell Companion to Law and Society, Malden 2004, Chapters 2, 29, 30.
  • Halliday, Simon/ Schmidt, Patrick, Beyond Methods: Law and Society in Action, New York 2009.
  • Darian Smith, Eve, Laws and Societies in Global Contexts: Contemporary Approaches, Cambridge 2013.

course requirements (2 credits):

Before the workshop:

  • Preparation of pre-assigned readings
  • Preparation of a presentation on the method applied by the participants in their research projects using the Pecha Kucha format (
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    During the workshop:

    • Presentation of pre-assigned reading (10 minutes)
    • Presentation of participants’ research projects (5 minutes presentation, 10 minutes feedback)
    • Group work, application of research methods through interactive activities

    After the workshop:

    • Participants are expected to submit a reflection of the themes of the workshop and the relevance for their research projects (2 pages)