European Legal Studies and Sociological Approaches

This seminar within the PhD training series gives students the opportunity to discuss and reflect upon sociological approaches to European legal studies

Jean Monnet Action PhD Researcher Series

  • Speakers: Professor Susanne Karstedt and Professor Dagmar Schiek

Susannne Karstedt presents an empirical research project based on political sociology in the field of comparative European legal studies with additional comments from Dagmar Schiek.

Case Study – Europe as a normative power: Cultural peers and penal policies

Since the end of World War II, European values have been decisive in defining human rights and justice, and shaping normative arguments on which penal policies are based. As Europeans position themselves as ‘normative power’ globally, and shape criminal justice they are seen and see themselves as ‘cultural peers’.

However, penal policies, imprisonment and prison conditions simultaneously converge and diverge within Europe, and its penal landscape is marked by deep divides. Which values and cultural patterns are seminal in creating Europeans as ‘cultural peers’ in penal policies? In which ways are these values operative in the penal institutions of clusters of cultural peers within Europe? Do they create a ‘European way of justice’ and establish Europe as a normative power?These questions will be explored in a cross-cultural analysis for the cultural space and the spatial context of both nearness and distance in Europe.

To confirm attendance please email Michael Randall at

Location Details

The Liberty Building is number 16 on the campus map