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'Hobbes, Weber, and Modern Public Law and Administration' by Professor Morten Kinander (BI Norwegian Business School)

11 October 2017

Max Weber’s main contributions to the hall of fame of social and democratic theory lie in his model of bureaucracy.  He insists on the importance of rules and principles of legality, which produce predictability and security for members of the state. Weber also marks a turning point with his focus on the role of institutions for social development and stability, in addition to his thesis of the monopoly of violence and his definitions of the state. The alternatives to his theoretical approach are more expressly normative theories of the intrinsic good of democracy and rights. This talk suggests that what Weber described, Hobbes had prescribed 250 years earlier. Hobbes’ ideas were modern not only in content, but also in method. Many of the ideas that we normally take to stem from the ‘Enlightenment’ or liberal democracy, are already present in Hobbes, especially as to the mode and form of argument, as well as material administrative principles at the very core of modern rule of law states. As I shall argue, there is not much in Weber’s model of bureaucracy that Hobbes did not already take to be crucial to a stable state. We can perhaps say, then, that one of the principal aims of the Leviathan is to present a distinct theory of administrative law, a still neglected field of political theory. The aim of this talk is to look a bit closer at how Hobbes is a deep seated Weberian, and what that can tell us about both the importance and the philosophical pedigree of all the mundane details of administrative law.

Morten Kinander is Professor of Law at the Norwegian Business School, where he currently serves as Director for the Centre of Financial Regulation. In addition to his background as a finance lawyer in a large Norwegian law firm, Kinander holds a doctoral degree in legal philosophy. He has published extensively, and his works in English include The View from Within: An analysis and critique of legal realism and descriptive jurisprudence; The Hermeneutics of Practical Perspectivism; and Comparing Courts: The Accountability Function of the Constitutional Courts of Poland and Hungary.

'Whose Truth? Securing “Historical Truth” through Legislation: Poland, Russia and Ukraine' by Dr Aleksandra Gliszczynska-Grabias (Institute of Law Studies of the Polish Academy of Sciences)

15 November 2017

This event is co-sponsored by the Consortium on Memory Laws in European and Comparative Perspectives (MELA).

Every nation and community projects a certain historical narrative to underpin its specific identity. Nations and communities are perhaps the key bearers of such narratives, especially when their collective memories confront violent historical events such as war crimes, genocides and displacements. Interpretations of such events often determine a given community’s internal and external relations, while enshrining these interpretations, or memories, in law establishes historical orthodoxy. However, far-reaching conflicts over “the right to the truth” arise both in international relations and in jurisprudence when nations espouse “contradictory” memories. This presentation outlines the historical perspectives enshrined in the laws of Poland, Russia and Ukraine. It identifies the ideological, social and political factors that have led to the codification of certain memory laws, especially in Poland. And it aims to demonstrate that, in some cases, historical interpretations that have been set into law actually strive to impose certain views of the past that often directly contradict the available evidence. Rather than, as claimed or presumed, revealing the historical truth or facilitating justice, such memory laws instead re-inscribe the past so as to avert criminal liability.

Headshot of Aleksandra Gliszczyńska GrabiasDr Gliszczyńska-Grabias is a Polish lawyer specializing in the fields of anti-discrimination law, freedom of speech, hate speech and hate crimes, and memory laws. Her publications include the Polish-language monograph, Wolters Kluwer (Combating Antisemitism: International Law Instruments, 2014); and the co-edited (with Uladzislau Belavusau) anthology, Law and Memory: Addressing Historical Injustice through Law (Cambridge UP, forthcoming 2017). A recipient of the 2015-2018 Fellowship of the Polish Ministry of Science and Higher Education for outstanding achievements in science and research, Dr Gliszczyńska-Grabias was also Bohdan Winiarski Fellow at the Lauterpacht Centre of the University of Cambridge in 2014, and Graduate Fellow of the Yale Initiative for the Interdisciplinary Study of Antisemitism, Yale University (2010/2011). Dr Gliszczyńska-Grabias’s standing in the academic community was recognized in 2015 when she was invited to join the experts’ group of the Council of Europe in Help in the 28 Project (“Fight against racism, xenophobia and homophobia”). In September 2015, she became a member of the Academic Advisory Board of the Community of Democracies. Since September 2016, she has been a Principal Investigator in consortium on Memory Laws in European and Comparative Perspectives (MELA) - a four-nation, EU-sponsored collective that examines memory laws throughout Europe and the world. Apart from her academic work, dr Gliszczyńska-Grabias co-leads the Public Interest Strategic Litigation Program at Dentons Global Law Firm.

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