2014 Conference: On Law and (In)formality

On Law and (In)formality
Inaugural Conference for Junior Researchers in Law and Society

2014 Conference: On Law and (In)formality


The Stanford Program in Law and Society (SPLS) is pleased to announce its Inaugural Conference for Junior Researchers. As there are limited opportunities for the international community of aspiring scholars to meet and discuss their current projects on law and society, this conference is intended to provide a forum specially designed for junior researchers to share their work in progress, receive input from faculty and other participants, and develop professional skills.

Conference theme

The Inaugural Conference for Junior Researchers explores the limits of law and the legal system. How does society function where there is a lack of formal legal structure, where order may be maintained through social norms, customs, or other informal rules of behavior? How is society governed when laws are not enforced, or when actors (state or citizens) operate outside of the law, resorting to extralegal options to achieve social order? What is the connection between law and informality? And somewhere in between these two ends of the spectrum, what happens at the blurred edges or limits of law? In other words, we seek to investigate if, when, and why law matters.
Law and society research has always been concerned with the limits of legal structures governing a particular society. This line of research has illuminated situations where the formal legal system doesn’t necessarily govern human behavior. It may refer to spaces in society where there is a lack of public or private enforcement of formal legal rules. It may also refer to situations where social or cultural norms, rather than formal legal ones, provide social order. Or it may indicate areas where chaos or violence is the pattern defining a particular social system. Other definitions of the term may be imagined, which indicates that this is a broad and ongoing research agenda.

Conference Schedule 

The conference schedule is available here: SPLS 2014 Final Schedule.pdf

Conference Materials 

The abstracts of the papers to be presented at the conference are available here: SPLS 2014 Paper Abstracts.pdf
Panelists’ biographies are available here: SPLS 2014 Panelist biographies – web version.pdf
Discussants’ biographies are available here: SPLS 2014 Discussant biographies.pdf

To Register for the Conference

The conference is open to the SLS community and the general public. To register for the whole conference or specific panels, please go to:http://bit.ly/1mt64uo

Empirical Research Methods Workshop – Thursday May 15 

An empirical research methods workshop will be held as part of the conference, featuring:
  • Prof. John J. Donohue III, Stanford Law School
  • Prof. Robert MacCoun, UC Berkeley School of Law
  • Prof. Manuel A. Gómez, Florida International University College of Law

Date: Thursday May 15, 2014
Time: 4:30 PM to 6:00 PM
Room: 95 (note room change)

To RSVP for the workshop, visit: http://bit.ly/1pkVRpC


Please feel free to direct any questions to: stanfordlawandsociety@gmail.com