Digital Knowledge-making in Global Law & Policy: Questions, Tactics & Dilemmas for Research
Professor Geoffrey Samuel
Kent Law School
How international institutions, governments, non-governmental organisations and corporations make knowledge on the global plane is undergoing seismic change. Knowledge of global conditions is increasingly being pieced and patched together out of real-time (or near-real-time) data. Data deployed for law and policy purposes are being amassed from a wide range of public and private sources, via many different routes and methods. Some are assembled and analysed using machine learning. Others draw upon digital and analog versions of the crowd. New actors are also coming to the fore as key players in international legal order, among them data brokers and exchanges. Some forms of infrastructure and regulatory techniques appear to be of growing importance, while others seem to be declining in significance. All these changes in knowledge-making practice – and the questions and dilemmas to which they give rise – are in evidence in the interlocking fields of international development and humanitarian assistance. These informal remarks will draw out some themes (and puzzles) from Fleur’s recent work in this domain, and introduce collaborative research in which Fleur is currently engaged. The aim will be to initiate a conversation about how international legal researchers might yet grapple with these shifting practices of knowledge-making.
Professor Fleur Johns (Associate Dean, University of New South Wales) works in the areas of public international law and legal theory. Fleur studies patterns of governance on the global plane, employing an interdisciplinary approach that draws on the social sciences and humanities and combines the study of public and private law. In recent years, her work has focused on the role of automation in global legal relations, building on her prior research on financial modeling and other non-legal techniques of governance. She is currently working on a three year, collaborative, Australian Research Council-funded project entitled 'Data Science in Humanitarianism: Confronting Novel Law and Policy Challenges'. Before joining the University of New South Wales in 2014, Fleur was Co-Director of the Sydney Centre for International Law in the University of Sydney’s Faculty of Law. In 2005-2006, she was a Leverhulme Visiting Fellow at Birkbeck College, the University of London. In 2014, she was a member of the Distinguished Visiting Faculty at the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Law and, in 2015, a Visiting Fellow at the European University Institute. In early 2017, she was Shimizu Visiting Professor of Law at the London School of Economics and Political Science. Fleur has taught undergraduate and graduate courses in the fields of public and private international law, project finance, human rights, legal theory, legal geography and legal ethics.
Her recent work, PDFs of which may be accessed by clicking here, includes:
- ‘Data, Detection, and the Redistribution of the Sensible’ (2017) 111 American Journal of International Law 57-103
- ‘Data Territories: Changing Architectures of Association in International Law' (2017) 47 Netherlands Yearbook of International Law 107-129
- ‘Data Mining as Global Governance’ in Roger Brownsword, Eloise Scotford and Karen Yeung (eds), Oxford Handbook on the Law and Regulation of Technology (Oxford, 2017)
Entrance free but registration is required