Seminars - Fall 2016

  • Sciences PoSciences Po

Forms of Life and European Law

Loïc Azoulai, Sciences Po Law School (Main Investigator of FOLIE)

On September 23rd, 2016 Loïc Azoulai presented his understanding of the notion of forms of life and the ways in which it can be used for analyzing European Union law. Starting with a short literature review on the use of the concept of forms of life in the field of philosophy, Loïc showed its relevance and implications for EU law.

He put emphasis on the idea that EU legal forms should be understood as structuring social lives. He argued that this would imply a shift from an institutional approach of EU law to an “existential” one.  In addition, Loïc put forward a series of methodological implications of this shift. 

The discussion led to at least two conclusions. First, that EU law is an important site (among others) for framing European social lives, which is not to say that it is a privileged one. Second, that the FOLIE group should deepen its theoretical framework by reflecting further on the relationship between law and society.

The Nationalist Form of Life and European Legal Integration

Hanna Eklund, Sciences Po Law School (FOLIE Member)

On September 30th, 2016, Hanna Eklund presented the initial phases of her on-going research on The Nationalist Form of Life and European Legal Integration. The overall research question guiding her investigation is whether the EU legal systems presumes, imagines and generates the nationalist form of life. The presentation was centered firstly on finding a workable definition of ‘the nationalist form of life’ and secondly on outlining possible lines of inquiry within the EU’s legal system.

During the presentation and discussion the nationalist form of life was defined as a bundle of social practices, law being one such practice, oriented around and towards the nation as a qualitatively distinct site of societal organization.

The question of whether the EU legal system generates the nationalist form of life was exemplified in three themes: the Brexit process theme, the Dano/Alimanovic theme and the non-social Europe theme.

The Europeanisation of Everyday Life: Cross-Border Practices and Subjective Europeanness

Ettore Recchi, Sciences Po Observatoire Sociologique du Changement

On October 6th, 2016, Ettore Recchi shared with the FOLIE research group his latest research on The Europeanisation of Everyday Life: Cross-Border Practices and Subjective Europeanness, which draws on the Eucross project. Ettore analyzed the percentage of cross-border practices by country (Denmark, Germany, Italy, Romania Spain, United Kingdom) and the social differences in mobility types (gender, age, education etc.). To address the latter question, Ettore used a specific typology: virtual transnationals, transnationals, visitors, locals and tourists. 

One of his conclusions was that EU citizens are engaged in a wide array of cross-border practices. Another conclusion was that certain social categories (men, more educated, richer, younger) tend to favor a wider array of cross-border practices. 

Among the questions discussed were the meaning of “Europeanisation” and its relationship with “cross-borderisation”, the need to consider practices that are not imagined only in terms of agency, the political implications of the presented study, as well as the correlation between virtual mobility and physical mobility.

European Law and Forms of the Legal Profession

Lola Avril, Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne (FOLIE Member)

On October 7th, 2016, Lola Avril presented her research on forms of the legal profession. She focused more specifically on the European directive of March 22, 1977, which explicitly recognized lawyers' freedom to provide services and sought to facilitate its effective exercise.

Her analysis of the twenty years long institutional debate before the adoption of the directive, as well as the heated discussions among European lawyers, revealed the ways in which European law can put into question the core principals of a profession. Lola showed how European law questions the relationship between the legal profession and the state, as well as the traditional understanding of its activities as being confined to legal representation.

The discussion during this seminar focused on the idea of "cultural clashes" as shaped by different national forms of the legal profession, the relevance of the sociological concept of "corporation" for analyzing social relationships within a profession, as well as the link between the conceptual transformation of the legal profession and horizontal/vertical Europeanization.

Forms of Border Life Spaces: Capturing the Legal Intricacies of Migrant Lives

Veronica Corcodel, Sciences Po Law School (FOLIE Member)

On November 4th, 2016, Veronica Corcodel presented her work in progress on Forms of Border Life Spaces. Starting from an understanding of legal forms of life as heterogeneous and transformative, she argued that a specific conception of space is particularly useful for capturing the legal intricacies of "third-country" migrant lives. Space was defined as a set of relations among sites (Michel Foucault). Contending that migrant life spaces are often relations between strategies of migration control and struggles, she also argued that such relations should be understood as constitutive of the border. In this sense, border was redefined as a dynamic product of social relations. 

Under this theoretical framework, Veronica’s research seeks to address the following questions: what are the ways in which EU legal forms produce border life spaces? How are these forms appropriated for controlling migration and how are they contested and transformed? Veronica intends to tackle these issues through several case-studies, by drawing on her experience in the Migration Clinic of Sciences Po Law School. 

Among the questions discussed during this seminar were the transformative (versus the inert) character of forms of life, the possibility of formulating an ‘external’ critique of legal forms of life, the limits of an approach that confines its investigation to “border relations”, as well as the relationship between spaces and physical places. 

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