PhD Topics

For 2020 applications CECS is interested in PhD projects within the following areas:

  1. Comparing constitutional developments
  1. Europe’s challenges and opportunities
  1. Digitalization - which normative impact?

Til toppen Issues of constitutional legitimacy and constitutional pluralism

This research area invites candidates, who may be interested in working with Comparative Constitutional Law in an African, European and Middle Eastern context, as well as candidates, who might be interested in working with issues of constitutionalism on different levels including regional, state, sub-national spheres and the relations of these levels, within the constitutional structure and territorial nature of the state. Candidates interested in the relations between religion and law, such as Hebrew Law and Israeli Constitutionalism or Islamic Constitutionalism are also invited. The existence of secular and religious states and cultures of constitutionalism raises questions of plural values legitimating constitutions and addresses constitutions in societies characterized by legal pluralism as they are often found in both Africa and the Middle East, where relations between theology/religion and law have historically played an important role. This role is now growing also in Europe.

Contact person: Professor Antoni Abat:  antoni.abat.ninet@jur.ku.dk

Til toppen Violence, State and Law

Topics related with the concept of violence and how this interacts in terms of legal and political legitimacy and legal realism in constitutional democracies.  The topics will encompass German schools on "Gewalt"  - Carl Schmitt, the Frankfurter Schule (Benjamin, Horkheimer, Adorno) or even Nietszche and how this interacts with Normativismus (Kelsen). Also the French schools from Derrida to Foucault. It will be particularly interesting if these doctrine is linked to XXI century concept of law, interdependence and globalization.

Contact person: Professor Antoni Abat:  antoni.abat.ninet@jur.ku.dk

Til toppen The impact of digitalization on the political and judicial institutions including their competences and conditions and on separation of powers and general legal principles

We are interested in PhD proposals, which analyse how developments within digitalization impact Parliament, government and the courts including their competences, conditions, separation of powers and general legal principles. In a Danish context, for instance how is the legislative initiative and quality of legislation impacted by the political agreement on how new legislation must easily be digitalized in the administration (‘digitaliseringsparat lovgivning’)? How does digitalization of administrative decisions impact administrative decision-making and legal certainty? How does digitalization of judgments impact decision-making at the courts, the role of judges and legal certainty? Which challenges arise from such developments and how do they affect separation of powers, legal certainty and democracy in general? We are interested in PhD proposals which analyse already existing developments and future possible developments.

Contact person: Professor Helle Krunke:  Helle.Krunke@jur.ku.dk

Til toppen Building Cohesion and Solidarity in Europe

Cohesion and solidarity in the EU has been challenged during the last decade by many factors among them the consequences of the financial and economic crisis, the migration and refugee crisis, Brexit, populism, possible violations of EU’s democratic and human rights values in some EU member states, social tourism etc. At the same time, new forms of cohesion and solidarity involving new actors appear in Europe. Cities increasingly collaborate on environmental initiatives. Citizens show ‘tourism solidarity’ as regards especially popular cities such as Venice and Barcelona, shared economy and exchange of flats through for instance Airbnb.  Private initiatives have helped refugees such as ‘venligboerne’. The vegetarian/vegan movement and other private ecological initiatives show solidarity with other species. Especially in 2019 the demonstrations by school children across Europe and the world for “Fridays for Future” have had a considerable impact on policies not least in Northern Europe. Some of these initiatives are followed by regulation. Within the established systems, we see international courts such as the ECJ and the ECHR promote solidarity. We invite research projects that analyse and reflect over cohesion and solidarity in Europe in a legal or interdisciplinary perspective. We welcome projects, which address new forms of cohesion and solidarity driven by new actors, as well as projects, which address cohesion and solidarity within the existing institutions and legal frameworks. We are especially interested in how coherence and solidarity in Europe can be built in the future.

Contact: Helle.Krunke@jur.ku.dk, Ulla.Neergaaard@jur.ku.dk, antoni.abat.ninet@jur.ku.dk and Hanne.Petersen@jur.ku.dk.

Til toppen European Union Citizenship

European citizenship was established with the Treaty of Maastricht, which entered into force in 1993. It has since developed into becoming a very important legal concept with huge implications. Therefore, this area may give rise to many interesting and pertinent studies.

Research could for instance take its point of departure in one of the following more general themes: union citizenship and economic rights; union citizenship and social rights (welfare state services); union citizenship and fundamental rights; the relationship between free movement of workers and union citizenship; union citizenship and education; the rights of family members to a union citizen; or the rights of third country nationals. Other angles could also be taken such as: Welfare Tourism – Myth or Reality.

The proposed project should investigate one of the many important facets of the concept of union citizenship, but also challenges deriving therefrom.

Contact person: Professor, Dr. Ulla Neergaard: Ulla.Neergaard@jur.ku.dk.

Til toppen Economic and Monetary Union – Economic Governance

The Economic and Monetary Union is of essential importance in Europe, but it is continuously questioned as well as threatened. The concept of economic governance was therefore unsurprisingly given central importance in the Conclusions of the European Council arising from its summit on 18-19 February 2016 regarding a new settlement for the UK in a reformed European Union (in connection with the In/Out referendum in the UK (“Brexit”)) as it among others was felt necessary to state: “In order to fulfil the Treaties' objective to establish an economic and monetary union whose currency is the euro, further deepening is needed. Measures, the purpose of which is to further deepen economic and monetary union, will be voluntary for Member States whose currency is not the euro and will be open to their participation wherever feasible. This is without prejudice to the fact that Member States whose currency is not the euro, other than those without an obligation to adopt the euro or exempted from it, are committed under the Treaties to make progress towards fulfilling the conditions necessary for the adoption of the single currency.”

The headline is intended wide as many different suggestions for research proposals are welcomed. These could for example concern areas of the social dimension of the Eurozone, the consequences of a multi-speed EU, the constitutional consequences in Member States of European economic governance, the role of the CJEU in the shaping of the economic governance, the crisis and the transformation of transnational governance, etc.

Contact person: Professor, Dr. Ulla Neergaard: Ulla.Neergaard@jur.ku.dk.

Til toppen The Case Law of the CJEU in the Era of Digitalization

This research area invites candidates who may be interested in working with the Court of Justice of the European Union more theoretically but also more specifically on how it has approached and solved cases with a digital element. It could be more specifically on e.g. free movement law in that regard, but also more broadly/horizontally across all areas of law as well as with an evolutionary interest taken. It could be considered how and why a court like the CJEU reacts to severe technological changes and if it reveals any more ideological stances.

Contact person: Professor in EU Law, PhD, Ulla Neergaard: Ulla.Neergaard@jur.ku.dk

Til toppen Fake news, propaganda and disinformation, and their interference with democratic processes

Technological advances and the power of social media have transformed the ways in which we consume information. Internet has become a fertile ground for spreading propaganda, fake news and disinformation. The effects have been so serious that numerous governmental inquiries have been commissioned to study the effects of disinformation and fake news on the democratic processes. Election campaigns worldwide have been accompanied by an uncontrollable flow of disinformation with the aim to manipulate public opinion and sway election results in favor of certain politicians/political parties. The recurring theme in the public domain is who is to be blamed? Governments that underestimated the power of technology to manipulate public opinion? Foreign governments that used disinformation as a tool to manipulate public opinion in other foreign countries? Big tech companies that exhibited gross negligence in taking down the harmful content/fake accounts and failed to adequately respond? The Centre is looking for PhD projects that outline innovative and creative ideas in studying how fake news, propaganda and disinformation have interfered with democratic processes, and what legislative/regulatory response is needed to protect such processes from any form of malign influence.

Contact person: Associate professor Iryna Marchuk: Iryna.Marchuk@jur.ku.dk and Professor Hanne Petersen: Hanne.Petersen@jur.ku.dk

Til toppen Technology and Mass Atrocities

The Centre is looking for PhD projects with original ideas that explore links between technology and international crimes (genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity).

Contact person: Associate professor Iryna Marchuk: Iryna.Marchuk@jur.ku.dk

  1. Understanding How Technology Facilitates Mass Atrocities

The first sub-theme within “Technology and Mass Atrocities” deals with unprecedented levels of the abuse of new technologies, which have been utilized for inciting the commission of international crimes. The damning verdict of the UN report on Myanmar exposed the role played by social media giants, such as Facebook, in enabling widespread and uncontrollable dissemination of hatred on social media platforms with the purpose of dehumanizing persons belonging to targeted communities, which resulted into crimes against humanity and most probably, genocide. These deeply troubling tendencies call for the design of new solutions aimed at the prevention of the abusive use of technology leading to the commission of international crimes and re-thinking existing accountability mechanisms.

  1. Impact of Technology on Digital Investigations and Fostering Accountability for Mass Atrocities 

Another important sub-theme emerging in academic scholarship is how technology may be beneficial in advancing accountability for international crimes both in international and national courts. Nowadays perpetrators tend to leave multiple digital traces of their conduct online (online posts, recorded videos etc.). Important questions arise as to how the evidence recorded via technological tools (digital evidence) can be used for prosecution purposes? How do strict rules of the admissibility of evidence apply? In the times of deepfakes and circulated falsified evidence, is digital evidence reliable enough to convict of the most serious crimes?

PhD topics within one of the two sub-themes under “Technology and Mass Atrocities” are welcome to be submitted for consideration of the Centre.

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