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University of Helsinki Faculty of Law

Graduate School Law in a Changing World

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Contact information:

Director of the Graduate School:
Professor Kimmo Nuotio
tel +358 9 191 22013
mobile +358 50 4156569

Dr Ida Koivisto
tel +358 9 191 23538

Yliopistonkatu 3 (P.O. Box 4)
FI-00014 University of Helsinki
fax +358 9 191 23090

The Programme of the graduate school


Unruly Peoples and the Legal Public

Call for Abstracts

Abstracts are invited for Unruly Peoples and the Legal Public, a doctoral colloquium to be held at the University of Glasgow, School of Law, on 3‐4 June 2010. Submissions are invited from
doctoral students working in any area related to “Unruly Peoples and the Legal Public”. This may include fields such as constitutional law, human rights law, medical law, environmental law, corporate law, international law, criminal law and delict. Abstracts are also invited from
students working in politics, philosophy, jurisprudence and socio‐legal theory.

The theme of the colloquium is ‘Unruly Peoples and the Legal Public’. The event seeks to
investigate the relationship between law and society, specifically the manner in which the
masses are represented or interpolated within legal and political institutions as a key
mechanism in the legitimation of political and economic power. From a variety of different
theoretical (and political) perspectives, law can be seen as: productively generating consensus from dissensus and order from disorder; shaping a plurality of intertwined narratives into a hegemonic singularity which is compatible with the dominant discourse of law; reducing unmanageable complexity in view of the systemic implementation of law’s binary logic legal/illegal, or; providing the ideological masonry for the rationalisation of the exploitative economic relations which persist under a system of generalised commodity production.

The colloquium asks whether “the public” can operate as a hinge between the legal sphere and the collective demands of a political community (even oppositional or revolutionary demands), or whether it should be recognised as merely a projection of the closed, self‐referential circuits of the legal system. From one perspective, the movement from the ground zero of the population at large to the rising edifice of “the public” might be regarded as one of reductive substitution, insofar as information encoded in the rainbow of unruly peoples is lost in the moment of refraction into the legal.

The colloquium invites abstracts of papers which address these or related issues, and welcomes consideration of a diverse range of legal contexts in which “the public” appears or in relation to which the interests of unruly peoples are implicated.

The deadline for abstracts is Monday 5 April 2010. Submissions should be no more than 500
words in length. From the submitted abstracts, sixteen presenters will be chosen for the
colloquium, who will introduce their papers in sessions chaired by academics working in related areas. Successful applicants will be informed by Friday 16 April. Final papers of 4000‐6000 words are to be submitted by Friday 21 May 2010. Some funding to contribute to the travel costs of doctoral presenters is available, with further details being provided on submission.

Please send all abstracts to:

The colloquium will host keynote speakers from the University of Glasgow, University of
Antwerp and University of Helsinki. Registration for the colloquium is free for presenters and
non‐presenters alike. We welcome the participation of all interested postgraduate students.

Colloquium website: