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       Warsaw, 2012
>>> Programme

ISA-RCSL Jubilee Cerimonial Conference
Warsaw, 19th-21st October 2012

Report, by the Organizing Committee


Despite several important socio-legal meetings already on 2012 agenda, about 50 scholars, mostly from Europe but not only had gathered in October at University of Warsaw in order to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the establishment of Research Committee of Sociology of Law at ISA. Though none of the original founders – William Evan, Adam Podgórecki and Renato Treves – are alive they were present as subject of many commemorative speeches and academic papers. Preceded by the official opening speech by acting President of RCSL Vittorio Olgiati first session was devoted to the history of the RCSL as recollected in the memory of long standing members of the Committee of various generations – Jean van Houtte, Vincenzo Ferrari, Jacek Kurczewski, Mavis Maclean, Jerzy Kwaśniewski, Stefka Naoumova, Klaus Ziegert , Anne Boigeol and Adam Czarnota. Anne Boigeol has presented RCSL Podgórecki’s Prize to two young scholars – Fatima Kastner from Hamburg Institute for Social Research was awarded for her work on systems theory and commission on truth and reconciliation while Stefan Larsson from Lund University for research on law and digital communication. The session was concluded with welcoming speech by Jennifer Platt vice-president of ISA . The commemorative toasts were also made at the evening Gala Dinner in Warsaw Actors’ Club.

The next day sessions focused on two of the founding persons – Renato Treves and Adam Podgórecki – and selected topics of their interest. Session dedicated to memory of Treves was titled “Administration of Justice in Liberal Democracy” and included on the one hand, the description of Treves’ personality and academic work made by his student Valerio Pocar  and on the other, the further analysis of issues in administration of justice as encountered  today in democratic Italy (Anna Rosa Favretto on judicial ideology of family judges and Fernando Spina on judicialization of politics) and in democratic Poland (Treves’ influence on Polish studies on administration of justice in times of democratic reconstruction as described by Stanisław Tyszka and Grażyna Skąpska on her recent study of administration of justice).

Session on Totalitarian Law and Transitory Justice was devoted to memory of Podgórecki and included several papers dealing with the issue so important in his writing. It was started with Susan Karstedt who dealt with the rule through law as opposed to the rule of law in totalitarian context. Jiří Priban developed his paper referring to Podgórecki’s notions of “dirty togetherness” and “totalitarian Grundnorm”.  Jerzy Kwaśniewski conti9nued the criticism with which Podgórecki met the post-1989 developments in Poland claiming that the totalitarian legacy had not been yet eliminated, while Małgorzata Fuszara presented the fundamental change in the criminal policy comparing the communist and democratic  Poland. Iwona Jakubowska-Branicka referred to the Podgórecki’s seminal study of “Prestige of law” published in 1966 and later replications showing complexity of the public opinion trends on the law within totalitarian and democratic context. Finally, Adriana Mica pointed to the use of scandals and communist party moots as the para-legal way of diverting conflict under the communist rule in Rumania.

The evening special session was devoted to the assessment of the project of empirical sociological theory of law as developed by Adam Podgórecki. Paper given on that subject by Jacek Kurczewski was supplement by comments by Mark Cooney who presented the Donald Black’s “pure sociology” perspective on law as the alternative.

The last third day of conference included two special sessions and two open sessions. Edoardo Fittipaldi had presented his new book Everyday Legal Ontology. A Psychological and Linguistic Investigation within the Frame of Leon Petrazycki's Theory of Law (2012. Edizioni Universitarie di Lettere, Economia, Diritto LED)  developing some ideas of  Leon Petrażycki’s theory of law and legal semiotics and logics. The book had been commented by Polish scholars Krzysztof Motyka and Jan Winczorek and afterwards Fittipaldi was awarded by Foundation of Institute of Applied Social Sciences, University of Warsaw the distinction Pro Sapientia Cum Virtutis Praescriptis Adequata in recognition for his contribution to developing and disseminating Petrażycki’s ideas. Maria Ausillia Simonelli presented the first treatise on sociology of law published in Italian as Sociologia Giuridica. Contributo (Torino, Fratelli Bocca, 1907) by Carlo Nardi Greco. This presentation  based upon book by Simmonnelli  (Alle origini della sociologia del diritto in Italia. L’opera di Carlo Nardi-Greco. 2004. Napoli: La Città del Sole ) was commented by Vincenzo Ferrari and Maria Rita Bartolomei.

In the open sessions the topics were as usually multiple and therefore papers difficult to summarize. One important stream was the assessment of the development of sociology of law either with focus on historical origins or on present issues (Hakan Hyden on pioneers in Nordic sociology of law, Dace Sulmane on Latvia, Germano Schwartz with Dani Rudnick and Renata Almeida da Costa on Brazil, Anuradha Parasar with Meenakshi Sharma on India and  Takayuki Ii on Japan) . Jan Winczorek ,Paola Ronfani with Roberta Bosisio, Stefka Naumova, Anna Krajewska, Pierre Guibentif, Aleksandra Niżyńska, Adriana Mica, Paweł Kociszewski , Stefan Larsson, Flora di Donato with Francesca Scamardella and Adam Czarnota gave papers on legal education, procedural rules, homoparental families, anti-discriminatory regulation, financial crisis and tax avoidance, formality versus informality in house heating readaptation, methodological innovations and digital technology in relation with law and sociology of law.

Selected papers from the conference are to be published in a special volume of Societas/Communitas, the bi-annual journal of Institute of Applied Social Sciences, University of Warsaw edited by Jacek Kurczewski and Vittorio Olgiati. The Institute directed by Małgorzata Fuszara had been co-hosting the meeting organized jointly with RCSL ISA and managed by Aneta Gawkowska and Anna Krajewska, members of the RCSL from Warsaw.

January 2013

Jacek Kurczewski
On behalf of Organizing Committee


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