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The Social Field of International Adjudication

Gate Peace Palace International Court of Justice
Wednesday, June 15, 2022, 2:15 pm – 3:15 pm

The Department of Legal Studies cordially invites you to its monthly Brown Bag Seminar, held on June 15, 2.15 pm – 3.15 pm. Prof. Soave will present his paper “The Social Field of International Adjudication - Structures and Practices of a Conflictive Professional Universe”. 

You can find the abstract below. 

The seminar will be held in hybrid format. 

Zoom details:   

Meeting ID: 913 0792 6803 

Passcode: 534729 

To join in person: QS C-322 



The modern professional world of international adjudication bears little trace of the ‘invisible college’ theorized by Oscar Schachter 50 years ago. Instead, it has become a social field marked by a fierce competition among actors possessing unequal skills and influence. Moving from these premises, this article unravels the socio-professional dynamics of the community of legal experts – judges, arbitrators, government agents, private counsel, court bureaucrats, specialized academics, etc. – dealing with the judicial settlement of international disputes on a daily basis. On the one hand, the community has developed a specific set of social structures, practices, and dispositions that distinguish it from the rest of the international legal profession and insulate its activities from outside interference. On the other, it is the site of an endless struggle among its participants, who deploy various forms of capital to consolidate their positions relative to one another. Having outlined the twofold structure of the community – externally autonomous and internally conflictive – the article reflects on how cooperation and competition affect the everyday unfolding of international judicial proceedings and the production of legal outcomes at the international level.