Call for Proposals 10th Pan-European Conference on International Relations



Event Date: 

09/7/16 to 09/10/16

Location name: 

Izmir, Turkey

Call for Proposals

10th Pan-European Conference on International Relations, Izmir, Turkey, 7-10 September 2016

Section S44: The Force of Law in World Society

Section Chairs: Tanja E. Aalberts (CePTL/VU) & Nikolas M. Rajkovic (Tilburg Law School) 

Section description

A long-standing presumption of international theory has been that international law is both a symptom and cause of an evolving society of states. Yet, transformations since 1945 suggest perhaps a more radical evolution: where the increasingly transnational configuration of persons, goods, crime and wealth now strains the competences of the traditional inter-state form of legal organization. These empirical shifts are further enhanced by a normative turn beyond a sole focus on sovereignty as a fundamental norm of international society, towards more cosmopolitan values of human rights and world society, advocated by a plurality of actors. Together this suggests that the formalism of international law, as a state-centric normative framework, no longer constitutes the world of international legality but rather represents a world of cooperation in a universe of heterogeneous juridical practices. Accordingly, international law now interacts with, rather than controls, other juridical practices and projects that are engaged in legal ordering with often competing purposes. As a result, increasingly novel forms of socio-legal organization are disrupting political and legal categories that used to form the basis of modern international order. These categories traditionally separate domestic from international affairs, public from private issues, and law from politics. This trend speaks to a broader issue of the changing meaning of boundaries in this latest era of globalization.

Closer scrutiny suggests new patterns of socio-legal organization are realigning legal ordering considerably beyond what the inter-state model has long insisted was global legal reality. With other values, norms, actors, practices, scales, geographies, and technologies involved in the contemporary international ordering the question arises: what is the status and force of law in world society and how does it operate? This section will explore how formal and informal legal practices are mutating the normative horizons and structures of global legal rule beyond (or in interaction with) the inter-state model. This runs from debates about the legal justifications of military humanitarian intervention, to Guantanamo Bay as a distinct juridical space, to the increasing “private” power Foreign Investment and Trade Treaties vis-a-vis public law, to the seeming jurisdictional immunity of “global value chains”, to whether rights should be re-conceptualized as governmental technologies, and to whether and how disciplinary characterizations should now shift from referencing international order to more accurately global or transnational legal order. Moreover, technological innovations notwithstanding, this section wonders to what extent this is a late twentieth century phenomenon, or how we can trace the roots of a heterogeneous global legal order in the nineteenth century expansion of international society or even the Age of Discovery.

Against this background, this section will host panels concerned with theorizing and evaluating the force of law within world society. Approaching this theme from various angles and perspectives, the panels together aim to (i) develop new conceptualizations that articulate different modes of the force of law (ii) combine theoretical engagements with empirical analyses; and (iii) engage in a crossdisciplinary debate


The section is particularly interested in papers that discuss one of the following panel themes:

(1) The Changing Architecture of Legal Rule in World Society

(2) Lex Imperialism: Regimes as Informal World Empires

(3) The Historical Sociology of the Global Legal Order

(4) Law, Technology and the New Global Security Law

(5) The ICC and the Criminalization of World Society

(6) Saving the soul of Human Rights

We invite you to submit a paper abstract for one of these themes. Please indicate for which theme you submit your abstract by including the number in the proposal title (e.g. “paper title” [P1]). We also welcome full panel proposals that speak to the overall theme of the section.


The 5 panels for this section will be selected on the basis of the most interesting proposals that together make the most challenging and coherent panels.

Deadline for submission of abstracts (max. 200 words): 08 January 2016

For submission please register here:

For more information visit:

For any questions regarding this section please contact the section chairs at t.e.aalberts@vu or

Please note that only abstracts that are submitted via the online submission system Conftool can be considered for inclusion in the conference programme.



Contact email: