The DCS Laboratory's current research is organised in six thematic groups:

Political and Legal Europe in Globalization


Co-ordinators: Araceli Turmo and Arnauld Leclerc

Reflecting on the European Union in a globalized world first means analyzing how it was conceived and built, both in terms of its structure and how its competences have been distributed.

Europe is currently in crisis. This must lead us to reflect on the conditions for European integration in the context of globalization, and to evaluate the impact of globalization on the ways in which people think, act and create societies in Europe and across the world.

The team of researchers working on Political and Legal Europe in Globalization studies many aspects of the functioning of the European Union and its activities. Their recent research output has focussed on the area of Freedom, Security and Justice with several conferences in recent years on European criminal law and on asylum and immigration policy. This work reflects on the fast development of new institutional solutions to manage co-operation in these fields, as well as on the nature of the substantive rules being created. Other research topics include institutional law and systemic analyses related to the EU legal system, in particular EU procedural law, the rule of law and the effect of the passing of time on the applicability of legal standards. The topics of European citizenship and citizens’ fundamental rights are also central to our work and allow us to reflect on the relationship between the individual and European institutions. They are inextricably linked to our other research topics and are now complemented by a new research topic related to environmental-protection law and animal-protection law.

[SEO tags: European unity, identity, legitimacy, integration, governance, competences, legislation, justice, European area, public policies, national resistance, cultural resistance, European Union culture, political, economic, legal and social issues].

Local Governance and Relocalization Processes


Co-ordinators: Luc Bodiguel and Jean-François Struillou

New forms of local governance are emerging or being promoted. Elective democracy must thus gradually give way to participatory democracy, which implies the establishment of collective decision-making bodies in which civil society has a right to intervene. Similarly, the resolution of national or international environment, healthcare or food issues needs to happen at the local level, which is considered to be the relevant level for decision-making, mobilisation, and action on the part of all stakeholders. Similarly, to take a final example, the phenomenon of metropolitization and regionalization tends to extend the scope of action or competence of local authorities.

These new forms of local governance are generally not the result of law, most often deriving their legitimacy from collective action, grassroots initiatives, and institutional or entrepreneurial experimentation. It is often only in a second phase that they enter politics although they are not written in stone in the laws and regulations (green directives for example). However, these statements must be clarified. Major framework texts have sometimes anticipated the localization movement, such as the 1992 Rio Convention (Earth Summit) or European Union law, which points to the local level as the most relevant policy space. The same applies to the processes of decentralization of competences. The emergence of local governance is part of a constant interaction between society and law, between international, national and local levels.

In this context, the objective is to critically examine these local governance processes from the sensitive question of the (re)localization of collective action and the law. Under no circumstances is it a question of advocating insularity, but, rather, of observing and deciphering the function of the law in these processes, of questioning the forces of decentring and recentring at the appropriate level that makes it possible to combine normative and social effectiveness.

Technological Innovations, Health and Biopower


Co-ordinators: Sonia Desmoulin-Canselier and Marine Friant-Perrot

The studies developed within this unifying theme aim to renew research on health law by more broadly exploring developments in the field of health in the light of technological innovations and/or political choices affecting living beings and by combining normative analyses with analyses of practices.

The rise of biomedicine is characterised by a closer relationship between medical practice, biological research and the pharmaceutical industry and by the dissemination of medical information beyond the physician-patient interface. This approach continues the lines of researches on health democracy, patients' rights, medical liability, and the regulation of health products, but also suggests new perspectives.
The aim is to shed light on concepts and regimes blurring, regulatory blind spots and changes in practice, which disrupt existing legal frameworks or induce new normative productions and which, at the same time, reconfigure the imaginary of health and the spatio-temporal relationship between patients/citizens/consumers, health professionals and other institutions managing medical data. Following a resolutely multidisciplinary methodology, the studies developed within this unifying theme decompartmentalise the legal disciplines, bring them into dialogue with sociology and reveal the links between regulatory frameworks and practical situations, between the environment, food and health, between health law and criminal law, between human health and animal health, or between medical innovations, the roles of the medical professionals and patients.

Justice(s): standards, practices and societies


Co-ordinators: Gaëtan Cliquennois and Virginie Gautron

The theme Justice(s), norms, practices and societies is concerned with justice, which refers not only to the basic judicial system but also to the various mechanisms, bodies, structures and professionals involved in the criminal, civil, administrative, constitutional and human rights systems. Its main focus is on the boundary objects of law (i.e. those at the borders of different branches of law and/or those at the borders of disciplines other than law) and on the links and relationships between the different branches of law. In this research area, care is also taken to use an interdisciplinary approach to the study of legal and judicial standards and practices and to the place of society (French and also foreign societies) in these different phenomena.

In the perspective of this study of the field of law and justice, the theme has a dual objective: to firstly analyse all of the intra-legal aspects, namely the links and borders between the various branches of law, such as criminal, civil, administrative, constitutional or human rights. It is then a question of grasping and understanding the law, its norms, practices and borders in an intradisciplinary way, even though intralegal law has received little attention from legal scholars until now. Secondly, the study area sets out to examine extra-legal aspects, i.e. to analyse legal and judicial phenomena both in their normative and procedural aspects as well as in interdisciplinary practice, using in particular sociology, political science, history, economics and international relations. This is precisely what the societal angle of this theme refers to, as it reflects legal and judicial norms and practices in terms of their societal integration (and therefore society’s influence on justice) and in turn, their effects on society.

While this dual approach marks the different objects of research, they are still multiple and intended to address the fabric of law, responsibility, procedures, methods of proof and legal and judicial practices. They range from the analysis of liability in health and environmental crises and scandals, from social representations of justice to comparative and European criminal and prison law, as well as constitutional justice (such as the priority issue of constitutionality) and human rights, to the study of gender in the production and fabric of law, sexual violence, ill-treatment, long prison sentences, police files and more generally technological innovations and new methods of proof (big data and algorithms as an aid to judicial decision-making, brain images in criminal justice as new methods of proof, etc.)

Human, Social and Professional Mobilities


Co-ordinators: Pascal Caillaud and Franck Héas

Although the notion of mobility can be defined as ownership, the character of what can move or be moved, of changing place and/or function in a given time frame and space, this mobility (this change, this mutation, this evolution, migration, variability or transformation) implies the idea of a succession of positions and therefore, of paths.

Through this theme of “mobility”, the objective is to analyze the evolution of legal techniques of mobility in all their dimensions. From this point of view, legal mobility and its link with social mobility make it possible to cross-reference the legal approach with other approaches (historical, political, sociological), and have always been at the core of DCS research themes.

[SEO tags: social, work, employment, health, social policies, migration, environnement, professional status]

Legal and Interdisciplinary Reflexivities


Co-ordinators: Renaud Colson and Rafael Encinas de Munagorri

Like other scientific fields, legal research is subject to reflections on its methods, boundaries and uses. A first branch of this theme aims to deepen these reflections, which are essential both to the quality of research and its dissemination. In an internationalization context, many questions here can be presented from various angles: What are the relevant sources for a researcher and a team? How can we renew our methods? Is there a good use of comparative work? How to reconcile objective research with civic commitment? What are the links between educational research and innovations? These are all questions that constantly contribute to the necessary reconstruction of the field of legal research.

The second branch of this theme addresses epistemological and theoretical questions related to the delimitation of the legal and social field itself. What is the law? How is it distinct from other normative activities, old or new? What is it used for? Who makes the law? How is it conceived? Such questions call for attention to the forms of law, its representations and the plurality of its expressions, including on its visual media. The history of law makes it possible to develop a diachronic approach to these questions, which also invites us to conceive the input and contributions of legal theory to the social world.

Legal research is more than just legal research. It is based on multiple experiences and contacts. Contacts with social practices, with discourses that convey values and ideologies, with technical and political fields of knowledge that shed light on new realities. These are all ways of stimulating interdisciplinarity and the branch is based on research conducted between lawyers, politicians, historians, sociologists, philosophers and researchers from other disciplines. While interdisciplinarity is practised, it is also a field of study, especially when it ventures into innovative objects.