Law enables order. It regulates how we live together as a society and sets out a framework within which political and other conflicts are managed. But stability is not the only goal of these efforts. In democratic states, law must always provide space for opposition and contestation. In liberal states, it has to leave room for individual freedom. The order it establishes is therefore always and necessarily fragmentary and unstable. The ambivalence of the term Rechtsstaat in the German tradition, with its oscillation between order and liberty, is an illustration of this.
Contemporary global and German political developments speak to this unstable relationship of law to order in multiple ways. In the much-debated case of Sami A. or the Bavarian resistance to a ruling of the European Court of Justice progressives worry about the Rechtsstaat in the context of resistance to judicial decisions by state actors – a recurring theme, too, for observers of the European Court of Human Rights. In turn, conservative politicians have characterized protest and civil disobedience in the context of deportations of asylum seekers as a threat to the Rechtsstaat. If this criticism of protest against (legal) state action conceives of law and order as inseparable, law may also be understood by some to inhibit order as in the case of racial profiling, increasingly an issue of concern in Germany, too.
For the inaugural conference of the newly founded German Chapter of ICON-S, we invite contributions on the broader relationship of law and order as well as on what is commonly understood as “law and order“, i. e., questions of policing and security. The aim of the conference is to establish the German Chapter of ICON-S as a forum to bring together a wide range of perspectives on public law, including approaches both within law and from other disciplines. Submissions in English or German are welcome and there will be panels in both languages at the conference. We invite both senior scholars as well as younger researchers, including excellent doctoral researchers, to submit an abstract of 500-1000 words by Jan. 20 to email@example.com. Selected presenters will be notified by Feb. 15. The selection will be based on 1. the quality of the abstract, 2. fit with the theme and other papers, 3. the effort to represent a range of different perspectives and voices.