Our contextual approach to the study of law concentrates on three focus areas that function as lenses through which we put law into perspective. The three focus areas are the overarching topics that frame and shape the research projects of the center.
a) Culture, Concepts and Values
The first focus area concerns Culture, Concepts, and Values that, at any given time, form and shape law and legal thinking. Scholars applying this lens investigate the core concepts and values that govern legal thinking within and across different periods in time, for example privacy. How are concepts translated and transformed, decontextualized and re-contextualized across cultures and languages, and what values can successfully be invoked in legal argumentation across time and place?
b) People and Institutions
In People and Institutions, focus is on the critical study of law as it manifests itself and is developed in the interaction - and at times tension - between citizens and institutions. The premise of this lens is that law and the development of law and legal institutions can be understood properly in context only. Law is developed in the interplay between individuals and institutions. A related area of interest is the interpretation of law and its utilization in different contexts. Interpretational practices are important areas of study because such studies inform us about the societal impact of law, and because different interpretations of law may eventually lead to changes in legal regulation.
c) Society and Technology
Research applying this lens will be concerned with how digitization affects the way we understand law, and how it affects legal education, the legal profession, legal knowledge, and legal language. Another topic of interest will be the role of other kinds of new technology,. e.g. in the fields of policing and crime prevention. Technologies enabling automated face recognition, automated analysis of movement patterns, automated license plate recognition and other kinds of automated surveillance are developed at a very rapid pace, and some such technologies are applied in new contexts without much prior deliberation.
An important part of research activities in CIS are organized around collaborative projects that involve members of the center as well as partners outside the center. Members of CIS are currently involved in a number of large interdisciplinary research projects, most of which are externally funded.