Wednesday, May 08, 2013

Learning through experiences and objects

All rise: What does justice sound like?
  • Links to Tate-a-Tate: sound artwork on the theme of BP sponsorship of Tate
Abolition of Slavery (National Portrait Gallery)
Talking objects (British Museum)
Rule of Law (World Treasures of the Library of Congress: Beginnings)

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Addicted to Law?

In April 2013 Chandra Lekha Sriram and I co-hosted an invitational meeting of the Folke Bernadotte Academy's Rule of Law Research Working Group at SOAS, University of London. Chandra offered the following generative theme of 'Addicted to Law?':

It is well documented that an ever-increasing range and volume of activities are conducted under the umbrella of the Rule of Law--whether in response to acute crisis, prolonged instability, political transition, poverty or inequality. When presented with symptoms in the form of social, cultural and institutional problems, do we too readily diagnose rule of law failures? Do we then too often reach for rule of law cures--invoking tropes such as justice and human rights?

Participants are invited to consider what their research and practice reveals about the possibility that we--donors, recipients, commentators and lay-people--are addicted to law. The following questions may prove to be productive:

Who are the addicts and the dealers?
What are the symptoms of addiction?
What are the triggers for the addiction?
What are the effects of the addiction?
Are there safer alternatives?
How might we identify the proper dose?
Thanks to Folke Bernadotte Academy for generous financial support.