Redistribution and the Law in an Antagonistic World
21–30 August 2017 in Berlin
The academy aimed to provide a forum for scholars from law and other disciplines who investigate the distributive effects of law and explore avenues for the re-design of legal institutions to achieve more equitable distributions. The academy seeked to be a venue for scholars interested in collaborative research on global distribution conflicts to connect with like-minded peers around the globe.
Many pressing societal challenges of our time – environmental destruction, military violence, mass migration, financial crises – can be described as global conflicts of distribution. They raise questions not only as to how a more equitable distribution – of prosperity, capabilities, participation rights – may be achieved, but also as to how current distribution patterns have been produced and are being reproduced.
Law plays a crucial role in addressing such conflicts: It shall provide procedures for equitable distribution, enforce distributive decisions and embody normative guidance for what is to count as just or equitable distribution – or it is mobilized for resistance against allegedly unjust distributions. Yet, law is not only instrumental in processes of re-distribution. Law and legal institutions have always already distributed even before conflicts about distribution emerge. Law is constitutive of institutions which fundamentally shape and determine distributions of entitlements and liabilities between individuals, states, regions – think only of the market, money or state sovereignty.
As discontent with societal distribution patterns is rising globally, it is high time that humanities and social sciences – including lawyers – engage in rigorous analysis of the ways in which legal institutions produce winners and losers and the potential for alternative distributions through institutional re-design.
The academy was chaired by Isabel Feichtner (Julius-Maximilians-Universität Würzburg), Philipp Dann (Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin), Jochen von Bernstorff (Eberhard Karls Universität Tübingen), Surabhi Ranganathan (University of Cambridge), Celine Tan (University of Warwick), Arnulf Becker Lorca (Georgetown University, Washington, DC).
The academy is part of the strategic cooperation between the Forum Transregionale Studien and the Max Weber Stiftung – Deutsche Geisteswissenschaftliche Institute im Ausland. It is supported by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung, BMBF).