ACT and ACELG host a two day workshop titled Beyond Methods: The Politics of European Legal Research on the 22nd and 23rd of October, 2020
In European and international law, as elsewhere, various new(er) methodologies and approaches have been gaining ground - alongside the traditional practices of doctrinal analysis and legal hermeneutics. Political geography has contributed to the understanding of the spread of EU law over time and its interactions with place and space. Anthropological approaches have given us a sense of how various national and international actors use EU law to achieve their goals, and how these goals are developed in and through institutions and communities. Quantitative studies have offered new insights into the practices of courts and the effectiveness of legislative design. Discourse analysis has become an important tool for linking politics and ideology to doctrinal research.
In Beyond Method: The Politics of Legal Research we aim to shed light on the background struggles – the politics - underlying various methodological choices. The choice of method, or theoretical approach, we argue, is never ‘innocent’. Instead, it is part of the diverse political struggles that we, as legal scholars, engage in.
Method is, we suggest, a main way how to deal with the power of knowledge production in legal scholarship. Legal scholars fight many political battles – all the while they are pursuing knowledge for knowledge’s sake. They fight institutional battles for power in their own disciplinary setting. They engage in politics of knowledge more generally, when debating the legitimacy of law and ‘legal science’ vis-à-vis other disciplines or trying engaging with methodological approaches from other disciplines. Finally, lawyers sometimes also engage in methodological struggles as a direct contribution to big politics: realizing that the way we do law has a signficant influence on the way those in power do law.