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German Legal Traditions on Trial - Qualitative Untersuchung der verschiedenen politischen Traditionen der deutschen Juristenschaft am Beispiel der Juristen des NSU­ Gerichtsverfahren [2015 - 2017]

Type Research Project
Hosting Institution(s) Centre for Area Studies, University of Leipzig, Germany
Director(s) /
Spokesperson(s)/
Representative(s)
Helena Flam (Institute of Sociology, University of Leipzig, Germany)
Funding Volkswagen Foundation
Funding Term 2015 - 2017

 

 

Summary:
The new research project, directed by Prof Helena Flam (U Leipzig), started in October 2015. The project is administratively affiliated with the Centre for Area Studies (U Leipzig) and funded for two years by the Volkswagen Foundation. The first aim of the research project is to do justice to the past and present politicized/civic cause lawyering in Germany by locating its expressions in a broader legal landscape based on literature, surveys, expert, and autobiographic, narrative interviews. The second aim is to locate about 70 lawyers engaged in the NSU court case in this landscape, while raising the question whether and how the court positions itself towards migrants and extreme rightwing terrorism.


English Abstract:
The project has several aims. One aim is to discover the past and present politicized/civic cause lawyering in Germany. To detect its traces the project team will review scientific literature and past surveys, map out and familiarize itself with journals and associations run by lawyers, and, based on this knowledge, approach a diversified group of lawyers for interviews. The interviews will call for comments on the contemporary state of the legal profession in Germany, probe into its journal and associational life, and inquire into various concepts attached to the German state.

The second aim is to use the so-called NSU court case as a research prism to probe further into the state of the legal profession. The court case provides an opportunity to investigate whether and how the state prosecutor, the judge as well as the defense and the victims’ lawyers [Nebenklage] will play “neutral”, “state-loyal”, or “state-critical” roles. Of further interest is whether the NSU court case will be treated by the German state as an opportunity to position itself towards such transnational trends as migration/migrants and extreme right-wing terrorism. The NSU court case will be compared in this and other respects to other famous court cases in Germany and abroad.

German Abstract:
Das zum 1. Oktober 2015 gestartete Forschungsprojekt „German Legal Traditions on Trial“ unter Leitung von Prof. Dr. Helena Flam, Dozentin am Leipziger Institut für Soziologie, ist administrativ an das Centre for Area Studies angesiedelt und wird für zwei Jahre von der Volkswagenstiftung finanziert.

Zunächst schließt es eine Lücke in der aktuellen deutschen professionssoziologischen Forschung: Ziel ist die Untersuchung der Konstellation von ‘staats-neutralen‘‚‘staats-kritischen’ und ‘staats-tragenden’ Traditionen in der Juristenschaft sowie deren Einbettung in die Entwicklung des juristischen Berufes. Das erste Projektjahr dient zur Grundsteinlegung der Forschung: Nach einer umfangreichen Literaturrecherche, der Auswertung von früheren Umfragen und der Auseinandersetzung mit juristischen Fachzeitschriften, Vereinen und Verbänden werden Interviews mit Juristinnen und Juristen angestrebt, die sie dazu einladen, die gegenwärtige Lage der eigenen Berufsgruppe zu kommentieren sowie ihre eigene Perspektive auf die Justiz und den Staat zu schildern.

Im zweiten Projektjahr werden der NSU-Prozess und die an ihm beteiligten Juristinnen und Juristen ins Zentrum der Analyse gerückt. Von großem Interesse ist dabei, wie der Prozess, der zeitlich mit einer Verschärfung der politischen Auseinandersetzung über die Entwicklung der deutschen Gesellschaft zusammenfällt, den Stellenwert der Zugewanderten in dieser Gesellschaft definieren wird. Außerdem liegt ein Fokus darauf, wie sich das Gericht zur rechtsextremen Gewalt und zu der vielfach in der Öffentlichkeit thematisierten Rolle des VfS positionieren wird. Im Laufe der Analyse muss der Prozess außerdem mit vorangegangenen in Deutschland und im Ausland verglichen werden.

Biographical Note:

Helena Flam
Since 1993, Helena Flam holds a professorship of Sociology at the University of Leipzig. From 2002 to 2004, she was also the Chairperson of the Institute of Sociology (U Leipzig) Prof Flam was visiting professor all at several renowned Universities and research institutions, like for example Trento (Italy), Gothenburg (Sweden), or Tel Aviv (Israel) and published especially recently several books on exploring and theorizing of emotions.

 

Georg Barthel

Georg Barthel studied sociology in Regensburg, Leipzig, and Paris. He received his MA in 2016. In his BA thesis, he applied discourse analysis to excerpts from Sarrazin’s famous anti-migrant book Deutschland schafft sich ab (Germany Does Away with Itself). In his MA thesis, he similarly applied critical discourse analysis to key speeches held by German government and opposition leaders on the “refugee crisis”. His research focuses on nationalism and racism. His expertise also includes the sociology of work.

 

Philipp Lorig

Philipp Lorig studied sociology and philosophy at the University of Trier and at Université picardie jules verne in Amiens. Between 2007 and 2010, he was a research associate at the University of Trier and between 2015 and 2016 at the Technical University of Darmstadt. In his doctoral work, he analysed precarious working conditions of self-employed craftsmen in eastern Germany. His areas of expertise include sociology of work, economic sociology, and autobiographic narratives.

 

Carl Melchers

Carl Melchers defended his PhD thesis on “Iranian diaspora politics in the United States” at the Free University of Berlin in 2016. His various projects took him to Berlin, New York City, Los Angeles, Washington DC, Johannesburg, and Mexico City. In 2010, he was a visiting research associate at the School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University. His research focuses on politics and law, political theory, and migration and diaspora politics. For the past ten years, he has also pursued a successful career in journalism.