Request for submissions: Researchers in the witness box

Editorial coordination: Laëtitia Atlani-Duault and Stéphane Dufoix

In recent years, researchers in the human and social sciences have increasingly found themselves involved, voluntarily or involuntarily, in legal proceedings. This edition of Socio aims to analyze and understand, through different disciplinary perspectives, this growing phenomenon.

In particular, articles may explore three types of involvement by researchers in the witness box, which provide the edition with its overall structure:

  1. Taking sides: Scientific activity increasingly brings researchers, in the name of justice or in defense of the truth, to take sides in legal proceedings, crossing or at least pushing the border between action and objectivity. The first set of articles will investigate different facets of this rise in researchers’ participation as witnesses in trials.
  2. Research as defendant: Scientific activity is increasingly subject to lawsuits for defamation, with well-financed legal campaigns mounted by commercial, state and even religious organizations. While not a new development per se, it is important to examine changing forms of intimidation that have been revealed by recent cases. The issue of academic solidarity may also be discussed.
  3. Transforming justice: Researchers also contribute their expertise to changing judicial procedures and justice systems by providing new approaches or “off the shelf” forms of justice. This too has existed for many years, but the involvement of social scientists in judicial processes is appearing in new guises that need to be documented and analyzed: examples include restorative justice, traditional justice, and truth and reconciliation commissions.

These three streams of investigation are not exhaustive, and other perspectives on the central issue will be welcomed. The editors will prioritize proposals from specific fields or conceptual positions that reflect critically on the foundations, conditions, extent, and limits on the involvement of researchers “in the witness box.”

Proposals of approximately two pages describing the issue, approach and data, and accompanied by a bibliography, should be sent to the editorial directors by 15 February 2013. Successful proposals should result in articles of between 5,000 and 8,000 words, including notes and bibliography, to be submitted by 28 June 2013. A particular effort should be made by authors to write in a style that clearly expresses the issues discussed, in order to promote interest among readers beyond a narrow specialist readership.

Article proposals (title, two-page resumé, biography) must be submitted to Socio by 15 February 2013

Selected articles must be submitted 28 June 2013.

Version française.

 


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