JCJC - Jeunes chercheuses et jeunes chercheurs

Droit et juristes dans le gouvernement européen – DEJUGE

Submission summary

Law appears practically omnipresent in the European construction. From the day-to-day developments in the European Court of Justice's jurisprudence to the large-scale project of a European Constitution Treaty, it has become commonplace to speak of law as yet another form of European politics. However, rather than making these prominent legal issues the focal point of analysis – and thereby emphasizing their importance by the price of downplaying the underlying mechanism from which they gain this social and political power – this project suggests viewing these processes as the development of a European legal field. More precisely, this project seeks to go beyond conventional socio-legal understandings of such objects in terms of processes of specialisation and autonomisation of European law and instead suggest a political sociology of the way in which jurists are contributing to the construction and legitimation of the European political order. Such a study consists of an analysis of the various communities of European jurists, that is, the different actors who use law on a daily basis: judges, référendaires, law professors, in-house counsel, private practicing lawyers or the jurists of the institutions of the EU. By exploring the confrontations and competitions between these groups and institutions and the different legal cultures they represent, the study investigates what nevertheless unifies these different segments of European jurists – for example in terms of common cognitive frames and categories. Moreover, the project suggests analysing the gradual emergence of this European legal space as the collective product of interdependent practices. The study uses two approaches for understanding the rise of the European legal field: 1) A correspondence analysis of the systems of relations of the European legal field from the 1960s to the contemporary period. This allows for a an entirely new view of European law as 'total social space' in terms the interactions, institutions, hierarchies and other social mechanism structuring this social field. This part of the analysis is based on 5 data sets of which some of the data has already been collected. The 5 data sets focus on the following groups of jurists: current and former judges, current and former lawyers, current and former référendaires and current and former members of the legal service and former parliamentarians of the legal commission. 2) An analysis of a series of sites of socialisation and – sociability – of European law. In focus are the central venues (for example the Academy of Treves, professional seminars between European judges or academics, etc.) which provide many of these European legal actors common cognitive schemata through which they learn – and teach – European politics.

Project coordination

Guillaume SACRISTE (Université)

The author of this summary is the project coordinator, who is responsible for the content of this summary. The ANR declines any responsibility as for its contents.


Help of the ANR 140,000 euros
Beginning and duration of the scientific project: - 36 Months

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