Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin - Integrative Research Institute Law & Society (LSI)

Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin | Juristische Fakultät | Integrative Research Institute Law & Society (LSI) | Berlin Spring School on The Laws and Politics of (In)Security and Social Cohesion – An Interdisciplinary Conversation

Berlin Spring School on The Laws and Politics of (In)Security and Social Cohesion – An Interdisciplinary Conversation

  • Wann 04.05.2022 bis 06.05.2022
  • Wo
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About the Spring School

The Spring School The Laws and Politics of (In)Security and Social Cohesion – An Interdisciplinary Conversation seeks to engage in a debate about how (in)security has been constituted through law, history, social sciences, as well as natural sciences. We address the laws and politics of (in)security particularly in the areas of “terrorism”, pandemics, and environmental change and propose to rethink the entanglement and interaction between these crisis phenomena, and especially their effects on social inequalities and social cohesion.

The laws and politics of (in)security are understood not only as a framework for or a result of political and economic crises but also as a set of social practices that actively shape forms of inclusion and exclusion in society. As part of this, we ask how risk assessment, prognosis and uncertainty shape our understanding of dealing with (in)security: How do legal, political or social narratives around (in)security promote social cohesion, and to what extent might they instead endanger social cohesion? How do security laws, policies and practices find their way into the lives of people? What or who is considered a risk or threat to society? How do the laws and politics of (in)security confirm or constrain, stabilize or destabilize the public realm, its actors, actions, narratives and images? Do these laws and politics operate in different ways at different scales (national, regional, international)? And who are the actors that influence and determine these sets of security laws and politics of (in)security? The focus on (in)security and social cohesion is one that explicitly enquires about social hierarchies in the (re)distribution of power in society: who benefits, who loses, who is harmed?

The Spring School invites researchers to think through contextual, historical, and geographic conjunctions in debates on security. We seek to reinvestigate the role of disciplines such as law, political science, criminology, forensic psychology, health sciences, and environmental sciences in shaping normative regulations. We want to study who the law and routinized security practices address or fail to address when they insert empirical knowledge, and how empirical knowledge overrides normative considerations and routinized practices. We are interested in understanding the inherent limits of empirical knowledge in normative decision-making in times of (in)security.

By bringing together different academic perspectives on the implicit and explicit relationships of the laws and practices of (in)security, the Spring School aims to shed light on a range of issues that remain under-researched within the respective disciplines in order to foster a dialogue on different methodological and theoretical approaches of socio-legal research. By shifting perspectives and leaving the comfort zone of their own academic fields, participants will engage in interdisciplinary approaches and will unlock the interdisciplinary potential of their work within the thematic realm of the laws and practices of (in)security.

The Spring School provides a space to discuss the participants’ projects with fellow PhD students, postdoctoral fellows and renowned scholars of socio-legal research from different academic traditions. Participants will be asked to submit a five-page paper about the research project prior to the Spring School, which will serve as a basis for in-depth peer-to-peer sessions in which participants will present their research and receive feedback from both fellow participants und senior researchers. Moreover, thematic, methodological and strategic academic topics are covered by workshops and panel discussions on socio-legal research and writing and publishing in an international context. A core feature of the programme will be the practical session on the analysis of legal texts, conducted by interdisciplinary teams from the organizing institutions.

The keynote will be delivered by Prof. Dr. Gabriele Metzler (Professor for the History of Western Europe and Transatlantic Relations at Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin).



Centre Marc Bloch, Franco-German Centre for Social Science Research: Dr. Mathias Delori ( and Dr. Judith Nora Hardt (

Integrative Research Institute Law & Society, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin: Valentin Feneberg (

Centre for Socio-Legal Studies, University of Oxford: Dr. Bettina Lange (