Law’s Pluralities/ Pluralitäten des Gesetzes. Justus Liebig University Giessen/Germany. Conference

Law’s Pluralities –
Cultures:Narratives:Images:Genders /// Pluralitäten des Gesetzes –Kulturen:Narrative:Bilder:Genders

6-9 May 2015: Justus Liebig
University Giessen, Germany

In May 2015 the conference “Law’s
Pluralities” will take place at Justus Liebig University Giessen/Germany. In a
series of keynote presentations by experts and in panel sessions and
discussions, as well as in an exhibition it will explore cultural constructions
of law. We invite academic contributions in the conference languages English
and German.

The conference and exhibition is
organized at Justus Liebig University Giessen by the International Graduate Centre for the Study of
Culture (GCSC
) in cooperation with the  Department of English, the Rudolf-von-Jhering Institute, and in cooperation
with the Neue Giessener Kunstverein. Contact:




Wednesday, 6 May

Conference opening and
Exhibition “Law’s Pluralities”

: “Mapping the Pluralist Character of Cultural Approaches to
Law in Increasingly Pluralistic European Legal Cultures”

Franz Reimer: “Der kulturelle Zugang zum Recht aus der Perspektive
der Rechtstheorie und Methodenlehre”

Exhibition opening
at “Neuer Giessener Kunstverein”


Thursday, 7 May

Session 1: Law’s

Rosemary J. Coombe: “Neoliberalism and the
‘Proprietary’ Imagination: A Proliferation of Cultures ‘Before the Law’”

Cultural goods are increasingly
treated as resources under neoliberal practices of regulatory restructuring and
the growing economic significance of informational capital in ‘knowledge
economies’ supported by intellectual property and other newer legal regimes.
Social collectivities face numerous pressures and incentives to represent and
to recognize themselves as bearing unique cultures and stewarding valuable
diversity. In international intellectual property deliberations, new regimes
for safeguarding intangible cultural heritage, and through the ‘biocultural
turn’ in environmental conservation politics, newly capacitated ‘communities’
assume a proprietary relationship to an ever greater range of culturalised
practices as they simultaneously make themselves legible and legitimate in new
fields of political economy. These new forms of neoliberal governmentality,
however, also provide new resources for rights-based social struggle in which
new legal cultures are imagined and projected through a revitalization of
‘customary law’ as a normative framework for cultural governance. I will draw
upon ethnographic examples from Europe, Japan
and Latin America, to suggest that the
relationship between the legal valuation of cultural goods and the
heterogeneity of legal cultures is a dialectical one fueled by narratives of
loss, belonging and responsibility.

Rosemary J.
is the Tier One Canada Research Chair in Law, Communication and
Culture, and teaches in the graduate programs in Sociolegal Studies and
Anthropology at York University in Toronto.

Anna-Bettina Kaiser: “Verfassungsvergleichung
als Verfassungsinterpretation?”

Die „Pluralitäten des Rechts“
heben zwei Gesichtspunkte hervor, die unterschieden werden können und doch
miteinander verschränkt sind. So betont der pluralistische Ansatz sowohl eine
Methodenvielfalt bei der Beschäftigung mit Recht als auch die Pluralität von
(Rechts-)ordnungen, die miteinander in Berührung kommen. Der Vortrag sucht
beide Sichtweisen miteinander zu verbinden, wenn er der Frage nachgeht,
inwiefern Argumente, die im Wege der Verfassungsvergleichung gewonnen wurden,
für die Verfassungsinterpretation fruchtbar gemacht werden können. Insbesondere
soll der Frage nachgegangen werden, welche Methoden und welche Akteure für
einen gelungenen Re-Entry des Fremden in das eigene (Verfassungs-)Recht in
Betracht kommen.

Anna-Bettina Kaiserbekleidet die Professur
für Öffentliches Recht und Grundlagen des Rechts an der Humboldt-Universität zu

Session 2: Law’s

Jeanne Gaakeer: “The Perplexity of
Judges Becomes the Scholar’s Opportunity”

‘The perplexity of judges becomes
the scholar’s opportunity’, wrote Benjamin Cardozo, promotor of the concept of
the unity of form and content in law and literature. Cardozo’s observation
prompts my contribution on law’s narratives, because of the interrelation
between law in (academic) theory and law in practice, and given my own context
as a judge and an academic working in the field of Law and Literature/Law and
Humanities. Starting from the combined theses that (1) the way in which the
facts of a case are narrated determines to a large part the outcome of that
case – to narrate is already to explain, wrote Ricoeur – so that jurists need
to develop and cherish narrative knowledge, and (2) that jurists should be
imaginative about both the law and the people whose fates they determine when
they use language to translate brute facts into the reality of the legal
narrative, I aim to investigate and critically respond to the various views of
literary theorists on narrative and narratology and show which elements can be
fruitfully incorporated into a legal narratology. I do so on the view that
jurists while being authors and readers of legal narratives all too often
disregard what literary theory and the humanities more generally, have to offer
to legal practice, and in order to highlight points of misunderstanding in our
interdisciplinary literary-legal discussions, for there too scholarly
opportunities remain to be seized for further clarification and theoretical
elaboration of the bond of law and narrative.

Jeanne Gaakeer is professor of Legal Theory,
Erasmus School of Law, University of Rotterdam, and Justice in the Criminal Law
Section of the Appellate Court in The Hague, and co-founder of the European
Network for Law and Literature.

Andreas von Arnauld: “Norms and Narrative”

Taking my cue from Robert Cover’s
seminal work on ‘Nomos and Narrative’, I want to develop on two dimensions in
which norms and narratives inter-relate. The first dimension follows Cover’s
famous dictum: ‘For every constitution there is an epic, for each decalogue a
scripture.’ To what extent U.S. American Constitutional discourse is built on
certain ‘grand narratives’, has been discussed by Robert Cover himself as by
the likes of Paul W. Kahn. In Germany,
too, Constitutional law relies on ‘grand narratives’, both in judicial practice
and in scholarship. I will analyse how these narratives shape our understanding
of the Constitution and our society and which functions they serve. While this
first approach to ‘norms and narrative’ predominantly focuses on narratives
passing through the text of the Constitution, the focus in the second dimension
will be on narrative structures within legal norms. Comparing modern laws with
their aesthetic of abstraction to earlier models will show that even today’s
rather functional types of norms contain narrative patterns. In the process of
norm ‘application’, these crypto-narratives are revived while at the same time
the ‘facts of the case’ are abstracted in order to ‘fit’ the norm. Thus, the
narrative might prove the connecting structure between ‘norms’ and ‘facts’.

von Arnauld
bekleidet die Professur für Öffentliches Recht,
insbesondere Völker- und Europarecht und ist Ko-Direktor
Walther-Schücking-Institut für internationales Recht an der
Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel.

Plenary: Susanne Baer: “(Über) Recht sprechen. Aktuelle
Herausforderungen für den Grundrechtsschutz“

Susanne Baerist Richterin des
Bundesverfassungsgerichts, bekleidet eine Professur für Öffentliches Recht und
Geschlechterstudien an der Juristischen Fakultät und dem Zentrum für
transdisziplinäre Geschlechterstudien an der Humboldt Universität zu Berlin und
Mitträgerin des vom Berliner Forschungsverbund Recht im Kontext initiierten
Projekts “Rechtskulturen: Konfrontationen jenseits des Vergleichs” am Forum
Transregionale Studien.

Friday, 8 May

Session 3: Law’s Cultures

Ruth Herz: “Judicial Images as

Regardless of their national
background judges are educated and trained to ‘think like lawyers’. The process
involves interpreting and applying the law and formulating the decision
cogently, in a well-argued fashion. Such a method leads judges to ‘skeletonise’
real life stories. Jugdecraft is therefore to a great extent an exercise in
stripping stories of their many personal aspects and paring them down so that
they neatly fit into the judge’s way of applying the law in order to resolve
the cases in court. The gatekeeping function of their way of thinking keeps
judges in their safe space. Entering the judiciary entails more than the
lawyer’s way of thinking. Being appointed a judge marks the belonging to the
prestigious ‘corps’ bestowing him with dignity and honour and distinguishing
him from other members of society. Consciously and unconsciously judges
gradually adopt a certain aura and gravitas when in court. A judge acquires his
habitus by incorporating past experiences, socially produced in his peer group,
into the self which becomes a second nature. This of course is magnified by the
theatricality in court and the court architecture, language, dress, rituals and
behaviour. This ensures continuity and stability. Judicial habitus is the
additional aspect guarding judges from succumbing to stray outside this pattern
of thinking and being. Both characteristics overlook the personal and emotional
dimensions of individual judges. Researchers have firmly established that
history, social background and gender are attributes of the judicial process.
It has, however, been the interests of both the society and judiciary to
preserve the anonymity of the judges and deliberately avoid exposure of the
personal and emotional levels. Judges tend to religiously guard the sanctuary
of their privacy.

Ruth Herz is visiting Professor at Birkbeck
College, University of London, former judge at the Court of Cologne, former
“Vorsitzende Richterin Dr. Ruth Herz” in “Das
(2001-2005), and author of The Judge’s Perspective (2012).

Session 4: Law’s

Konstanze Plett: “Stories about Genus,
Sex and Gender: Legal Exclusion through Linguistics“

Konstanze Plett is professor of Gender Law at the Bremen
Institute for Gender, Labour and Social Law at the University of Bremen. 

Leslie J. Moran: “What’s Mr Kipling’s
Bakewell tarts got to do with it? Performing Gender as a Judicial Virtue in the
Theatre of Justice.”

My point of departure is a
reference to a well-known English branded confection, ‘Mr Kipling’s Bakewell
tarts’. During the course of the swearing in ceremony for Lady Justice Macur a
box of these cakes was presented to the Lord Chief Justice. The gesture was
accompanied by much laughter. It was an exceptional moment but not the only
funny moment that generated laughter during that swearing in event. The
Bakewell tarts provide a point of departure for an analysis of judicial
swearing in speeches. During the legal year October 2012 to September2013 I
attended nearly twenty judicial swearing in ceremonies at the Royal Courts of
Justice in London.
Seven of the swearing in events related to the appointment of women. These
ceremonies, performed in the ‘theatre of justice’ that is the court of the Lord
Chief Justice in the Royal Courts of Justice on the Strand in London, are for those appointed to the High
Court and Court of Appeal. They are ‘public’ events marking the inauguration of
the institutional life of the judicial elite. Each performance has common
characteristics. The event is dominated by the performance of two speeches.
What is the nature and purpose of the scripts used in these performances? What
does the ‘live’ context add to the meaning of the event? How are we to make
sense of the presence of laughter, something which is usually said to be out of
place in a courtroom, a threat to the legitimacy of judicial authority and
confidence in the judiciary? Mr Kipling’s Bakewell tarts and the swearing in
events more generally are used in this paper as an opportunity to examine the
gendered nature of the judiciary as an institution. What role did this
confectionary play the gendering of judicial virtues staged through the
swearing in ceremony? How are we to make sense of the gendering effects of the
laughter in response to the appearance of ‘Mr Kipling’s Bakewell tarts’? In answering
these questions the paper engages my previous work on the formation of
legitimate judicial authority through the analysis of written texts and visual
images. It also takes my work on judicial images in a new direction; into the
study of ‘live’ performances. This paper provides an opportunity to reflect on
what the study of ‘live performances’ adds to our understanding of judicial
image making?

Leslie J. Moran is professor of Law at School of Law, Birkbeck College
and University of
London Principle Investigator
“AHRC Judicial Images Network”.

Saturday, 9 May

Session 5: Law’s Images

Peter Goodrich: “Lucifugous Laws:
Excavations of Visiocracy”

This entirely light-hearted and
irenic analysis of legal conusances will address the myriad modes of invention
of law. The specific issue that is taxing me this morning is not the
application of legality, the custard tarts and jammy donuts of judgment but
rather the silent, brooding and affective perpetuity of juridical institutions.
To coin a phrase, and to irritate, despite my best intentions, practitioners of
the vernacular, maior lex imago est.

Peter Goodrich is professor of Law, Director of program in
Law and Humanities, Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law, and managing editor of
“Law and Literature”.

Werner Gephart: “Image-ing the Law: How
‘Deontic Power’ Enters the Canvas”?

ist Künstler, Direktor des Käte Hamburger Kollegs „Recht
als Kultur“, und bekleidet die  Professur für Rechtssoziologie an der
Rheinischen Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn.

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