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Young Researchers’ Group on
„Comparative Micro-Sociology of Criminal Procedure“

The law-in-action group studied courts and law firms, judges, lawyers, and their clients and later political inquiries and their publics by means of ethnography and discourse analysis. Why sociology of law? So far, scholars focussed on law as means of regulation, on legal processes of decision making, and the powerful legal institutions and professions as crucial facets of a modern division of labour. In our project we asked, how legal discourse practices provide us with certain knowledge about cases of what really happened, about (im)moral subjects, about responsibilites and guilt. How law knows became our main concern. [Introduction...]

Research Questions

In the ethnomethodological tradition, we study the 'here and now' of doing procedure. The situated activities resemble investments into legal objects, such as cases, claims, statements, etc. As sociolegal ethnographers we ask questions such as the following: How do lawyers and their clients invest in their cases? How are files, archives, stories, or courts involved in case work? How do cases come about in the procedural course? How is all this different and similar in so called inquisitorial and adverserial regimes?

Later, we extended our research towards other procedural systems such as political inquiries in the post 9/11 era (in the EU, Germany, and England) and law-making activities in the German parliament.

Fieldwork and Discourse Analyses

- The English Study by Dr. Thomas Scheffer
Robes and wigs, barristers and judge, juries and witnesses, clerks and files ...[more...]

- The US Study by Dr. Alex Kozin
The US case study is a conceptual offspring of the English pilot project ...[more...]

- The German Study by Dr. Kati Hannken-Illjes
Bright colours, big numbers on the courtroom doors ...[more...]

- The Comparative Discourse Analysis on Political Inquiries by Steffen Albrecht, Matthias Michaeler, Jan Schank, Rixta Wundrak led by Thomas Scheffer



New activities

Special Issue on "Law and Biography" in BIOS

Call for Abstracts/French-German Conference on “Enfermement/Freiheitsentzug

Latest Texts/Books

My ethnography on the English Crown Court procedure by BRILL

Our comparative ethnography of criminal defence work in different procedural regimes by PALGRAVE

Teaching in SS 2011

Scheffer: „Einführung in die Institutionelle Ethnographie“ Kurs in Moodle

Scheffer: „Was tun Verfahren? Eine sozialwissenschaftliche Debatte“ Kurs in Moodle

Scheffer: „Arbeitskreis politische Ethnographie“ Termine in Moodle

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