55.6 Doing justice in an unjust world: The case of human trafficking

Wednesday, August 1, 2012: 12:00 PM
Faculty of Economics, TBA
David NELKEN , LAW, Macerata University, Italy and Cardiff University, UK, Bologna, Italy
We live in a period of 'global prescriptions' which attempt to set 'universal ' normative standards regarding a wide range of behaviours. The way such norms come to be spread involve a wide variety of forms of regulation and diffusion, and include both hard and soft law. Likewise, various processes of 'signaling conformity' are used by those to whom such norms are being communicated. I am interested in understanding the idea of the transnational 'socio- legal space ' that these developments presuppose and bring into being. The extent and sense in which actors, instititutions, practices and ideas travel across and constitute such a space provide important clues to what is and can be meant by the 'social'  at  a time of globalized trade and communication.

To illiustrate my points  I shall make reference to various studies of transnational legal processes. But I shall using as a specific example the efforts to ban the phenomenon of human trafficking and 'exploitation'. This is seen by many as an example of collective efforts to contest the dark side of globalisation but by some others as a way of legitimating nation state boundary- tightening. In seeking to document the 'social' I shall focus on the way norms are elaborated by the relevant 'social' units : international and national actors, intergovernmental organisations, pressure groups and networks involved in 'constructing' this problem and attempting to control it. I shall also examine the social technologies used to constitute and monitor 'the problem' as well as the  way actors in different legal cultures use and resist such transnational norms- and the success with which they avoid challenges to their own economic and political orders.