Social developments demand, now more than ever, a critical perspective on law and legal scholarship. These developments relate to the financial and economic crisis, the continuing humanitarian wars, the rising intolerance towards others and the perceived threat they pose. They can be captured in the notions of multidimensional globalisation and enforced individualisation. Both notions reflect an ever-increasing societal complexity with which we deal in many different ways. Law is one of these ways. Fundamental is how law is used to deal with complexity. The ongoing discussion about human rights is illustrative in this regard. A critical legal perspective is required to expose “normative abuse” of law. The main theme of this conference is to re-affirm, in our global age, this critical perspective on law and its relationship with politics. Therefore, the conference takes issue with the concept of modernity. The question is whether to speak of a single modernity (be it a reflexive modernity, a liquid modernity, a second modernity, a post-modernity, etc.) or whether we should consider the possibility of “multiple modernities”. If so, what does this concept pertains to? Does it help us in understanding and criticising modern law and legal scholarship and their manifestations in different legal systems? Furthermore, does it help us in understanding and dealing with (global) contemporary problems from the perspective of human rights as a manifestation of global law, penetrating legal systems around the world? A critical attitude, hence, is not merely directed at others, as in submitting other modernities (and their legal systems) to the test of Western modernity and law. Rather, it also requires an attitude of self-criticism, i.e. a reflexive attitude.
The opening address will be given by Prof. Gunther Teubner. Prof Teubner is Professor of Private Law and Legal Sociology, Principal Investigator, Excellence Cluster "The Formation of Normative Orders", Goethe-University Frankfurt/Main and Centennial Visiting Professor, London School of Economics.
The abstract of the keynote lecture is listed under talks.