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.
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?
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.
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:
The Danish National Research Foundation Centre for Privacy Studies (PRIVACY) was established in September 2017 through a grant of 50 Mil. DKK from the Danish National Research Foundation (DNRF). The center will be hosted by the Faculty of Theology, and Helle Vogt and three PhDs and post docs will be members of the Center as well as of CIS. The PRIVACY research team will examine how notions of privacy shape relations between individuals and society across diverse historical contexts. PRIVACY focuses on the period 1500–1800 that sees critical changes in individuals’ relationship to society. It brings together the fields of Church History, History of Architecture, Legal History and History of Ideas. The aim of PRIVACY is to systematize historical knowledge of dynamics that shape, induce or curb privacy in society; create an interdisciplinary method equipped to grasp such dynamics, and a strong and vibrant international research environment dedicated to high-profile historical research and equipped to incite a much broader investigation of privacy. This project addresses the center’s focus area of Culture, Concepts, and Values and the focus area of People and Institutions.
Aided by a grant of 4.7 Mil. DKK by the Council of the Danish Victims’ Fund, Lars Holmberg, Lin Adrian, Louise Victoria Johansen and Ida Helene Asmussen investigate victims’ perceptions of the judicial process. In the project, victims’ experiences and the perspective of institutional actors are combined and examined through observations and interviews. The objective is to bridge a gap in international victimology research, to enhance our knowledge regarding victims in the judicial system, and to create an informed basis for improvements in legislation and legal processes. This project particularly addresses the center’s focus area of People and Institutions.
Helle Porsdam’s Professorship in Law and Humanities is partly funded by the Augustinus Foundation. The idea is to further the study of law as it overlaps with the humanities. Concretely, this means focusing on two topics: 1) cultural (heritage) law - the legal-cultural issues involved in the preservation, conservation, exhibition and digitization of cultural/natural heritage; and 2) cultural rights - that part of human rights which concerns cultural issues.
A new lecture series is currently being set up as part of the UNESCO Chair and will be open to the general public: The KU UNESCO public lecture series on science, society and politics.
Participants in this project are Ingrid Lund-Andersen and Family law professors from all the Nordic countries. Around 1920, new family law rules were introduced in the Nordic countries based on the woman's equality with her husband and the autonomy of the spouses. The new rules were the result of extensive Nordic cooperation. The aim of the project is to highlight the historical development in Family law and to put it in perspective in relation to the social, cultural and political development. This project addresses the center’s focus area of Culture, Concepts, and Values and the focus area of People and Institutions.
Professor em. Ditlev Tamm is the director of a legal historical project with the purpose of establishing new translations, new commentaries and a reassessment of the legal, social and historical background of the old Danish laws from the 13th century; first and foremost the old Danish landscape laws (DA: landskabslove). The project is supported economically by the Augustinus Foundation, and is carried out in collaboration with Det Danske Sprog- og Litteraturselskab (The Danish Language and Literature Society). Cand.mag. Stine Sif Mørkeberg is attached to the project as scientific assistant. The project extends over the period from 2019-2022.