Law, Politics and Welfare

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Law, Politics and Welfare (LPW)

Law, Politics and Welfare is one of the research groups at the Department, and includes two large research initiatives: Centre for Research on Discretion and Paternalism (Director: Prof. Marit Skivenes) and Centre on Law and Social Transformation (Director: Prof. Siri Gloppen).

In this research group we are concerned with key areas within political science. We focus on the relationship between the state and its citizens, especially the exercise of state power and the justifications thereof. We study how legal strategies are used as political tools (lawfare) to advance goals such as children’s- and migrants’ rights, health, and sustainable development goals. We examine the normative fundament for the welfare state and the backlash on key democratic rights across the globe. We analyze discretion in the judiciary and amongst frontline professionals in welfare states, and the role and impact of paternalism. Some key research themes include how governmental institutions and its decision makers functions in society; how law shapes societies and if and how rights and courts are tools for social change; and what affects the populations views on core institutions – national and supra-national- and their outputs.

Our current projects collect data from all regions of the world, with an emphasis on Europe, the Americas and Africa.

Read more about our research focus

Research centre
Logo  for Centre for Research on Discretion and Paternalism

Centre for Research on Discretion and Paternalism

Research centre at the Department studying the relationship between the state and its citizens, with a particular focus on child protection and children's rights.
Research Centre
Logo for Centre on Law and Social Transformation


Centre on Law & Social Transformation – LawTransform – is a network of scholars, students and practitioners who share an interest in how law shapes societies, and the use of rights and courts as tools for social change.
Bergen Exchanges 2021
Bergen Exhanges 2021

BeEx2021 - Child Rights in Focus

Despite Covid-19 restrictions and limitations imposed on travels, the annual Bergen Exchanges saw the participation of scholars and practitioners from all across the globe. This year’s conference focused on four core themes: child rights, health, gender, and autocratization dynamics. In...


Our research group meetings take place on Thursdays from 14.15-15.30. 

Every other week, we organize an interdisciplinary seminar/webinar as a collaboration between the Centre for Research on Discretion and Paternalism, the Centre on Law and Social Transformation and Western Norway University of Applied Sciences. To present in the series, we invite national and international researchers to talk about their pioneering research on topics regarding law, politics and welfare. The seminars are open for all, and are especially aimed at academics, PhD students and prospective international collaborators from various disciplines and universities. 


The Law, Politics and Welfare Research Group hold responsibility for the Master's course AORG325: Discretion and Paternalism, as well as the PhD courses AORG 907 Introduction to Systematic Review and the use of SR in Social Science and AORG 908 Effects of Lawfare: Courts and Law as Battlegrounds for Social Change


Interested researchers and students can contact research group leader Prof. Marit Skivenes.

Logo - Centre for Research on Discretion and Paternalism DIPA

The Centre addresses core themes in the social sciences by examining the government’s use of power toward its citizens and the justifications of state interventions into people’s lives. Important areas of empirical focus are child welfare and children’s rights. Research at the Centre is comparative between nations, systems and individuals. The Centre is interdisciplinary, with researchers from across the world and from many disciplines – including political science, sociology, law, philosophy, psychology and social work. Read more.