European New Legal Realism and the Empirical Turn in Legal Scholarship
This project’s aim is twofold: first, it studies the ongoing empirical turn in legal scholarship, focusing especially on legal scholarship of international law; and second, it explores the prospects of providing theoretical foundations of an empirical basic science of international law under the banner of European New Legal Realism (ENLR).
This project explores two distinct but closely related research areas. First, it studies the ongoing empirical turn in legal research. Increasingly, legal scholars – especially scholars of international law – seem to be turning away from traditional doctrinal scholarship of valid law and toward especially the social sciences including sociology, political science and computer science in the study of law and its institutions. This project pursues both a theoretical path aiming to develop taxonomical resources in order to better conceptualize the empirical in empirical studies of international law, and an empirical path aiming to map both the actual scope of empirical work in international law, and the factors driving and inhibiting such work.
Second, under the banner of European New Legal Realism (ENLR) this part of the project explores the prospects of providing viable theoretical foundations for an empirical basic science of international law. Drawing on theoretical insights from key European sociologists of law Max Weber and Pierre Bourdieu, and on main proponent of Scandinavian legal realism Alf Ross ENLR outlines a program for an empirical science of international law that is both related to but also in important respects differ from recent attempts to revive American Legal Realism.
The project's central research questions:
- In relation to the Empirical Turn in Legal Scholarship on International Law:
What does it mean theoretically for legal science to be turning empirical?
To what extent is legal science in fact turning empirical?
What are the factors driving and/or inhibiting the empirical turn in legal science?
In relation to the program for a European New Legal Realism (ENLR):
- [to be added]
The Reality of International Legal Theory – Reality in International Legal Theory, Second ECTPIL and iCourts Conference, 22–23 October 2020, University of Copenhagen.
iCourts has received a four year funding from Danish National Research Foundation