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Department of Comparative Politics

Research project

INTPART: LawTransform: Effects of Rights & Law

The project "LawTransform: Effects of Rights & Law" aims to consolidate LawTransform (Centre on Law & Social Transformation, a collaboration between the University of Bergen and the Chr. Michelsen Institute) as a leading hub for scholarship on the use of law as an instrument of social change, and to advance high quality research-based education in this field in Norway and abroad. We bring together an interdisciplinary team of scholars based in research and higher education institutions in Norway, Brazil, India, South Africa and the United States, who work in areas such as gender, health and natural resources (land, water). The past decades have seen a global expansion of the use of law and courts, along with other forms of rights-based mobilization to promote changes in society. Different actors use legal strategies in pursuit of their goals, and as a tool for addressing social challenges - from poverty, environmental degradation and climate change, to conflicts over natural resources, ethnicity and religion. Yet we have limited knowledge about when legal strategies are successful, and when the law contributes to produce, uphold and exacerbate social injustice. There is an urgent need for more interdisciplinary research and for research based education into these complex processes. This project seeks to develop a more comprehensive understanding of the role of law and courts in the social production of (in)equality and of the use of rights and law as policy tools and strategies for social change. With the support of the Research Council of Norway and the Norwegian Centre for International Cooperation in Education through the INTPART-programme, LawTransform will develop new research projects, and build on existing and new projects to provide innovative and relevant interdisciplinary research-based education. This partnership will also allow for the exchange of students, researchers, professors and staff from all institutions involved.