Dignity embraces justice, rights, rule of law, respect for humanity and diversity as well as a commitment to human engagement, subjects that have been central in the law and society tradition. Dignity is a core idea in many different legal traditions and is shaped by a variety of struggles. It provides a bridge across cultures intersecting with diverse values and identities. Recognizing this central idea as our theme when we meet next year in Washington D.C. – at a moment of social anxiety and global uncertainty – focuses our attention on the promise, values and unrealized potential of dignity and will highlight the role of values we examine law in society.
The 2019 Law and Society Annual Meeting will initiate our consideration of the place, role and visions of dignity through a number of mini-plenary sessions that will take up the idea in its different forms:
(1) Dignity and Judging, which will seek to bring together constitutional and appellate judges to reflect on the role of dignity in their work;
(2) Dignity and Austerity, which will focus on the global spread of neoliberalism through international financial institutions and their insistence on austerity in the global political economy;
(3) Dignity and Lawyering, considering the role legal actors have played and continue to play in the emergence of a global security regime;
(4) Dignity and the Unwritten Code of Democracy, which will consider the norms of governance looking beyond the formal bounds of public law to constitutional and administrative conventions and the assumptions they make about the place of agency and rights;
(5) Dignity and Corruption, which will explore the relationship between regulation and the politics of administrative governance within which resources are directed for both public good and private gain;
(6) Dignity and Social Movements, the space in which many different communities have mobilized to protect and advance their claims to recognition and fair treatment whether from individual abuse such as gun, gender or official violence, or larger systemic threats such as climate change and economic marginalization. These themes, the subject of highlighted sessions at the meeting, invite participants in the meeting to consider the relationship of dignity to their own research.
After our last two meetings in Mexico City and Toronto, the Law and Society Association again returns to the US. We are all aware that, since the last time LSA met in the US, America now presents itself to the world as a less welcoming place, less publicly committed to universal human dignity. We know that many in the global LSA community will find a US-based meeting challenging, but we hope with the theme to signal that LSA remains committed to its core values of pluralism, toleration and respect for diverse traditions. We pledge to do what we can to make all those who want to attend feel welcome and to assist those who may have difficulty coming to the US to participate in the meeting.
The 2019 Program Committee invites individual and fully-formed panel submissions for what will be a challenging and exciting meeting. The Program Committee also welcomes the submission of complete panels of four to six papers in languages other than English. Submissions of individual paper proposals may however only be in English.
The deadline for proposal submission is November 7, 2018.
Registration will begin in January 2019.