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Empirical Methods in Legal Research: Participant Observation

Thursday 17 December 2020

In the last session Empirical Methods in Legal Research of this tumultuous year, Danielle Chevalier will talk about participant observation. Participant observation as a method to collect research data originates from the anthropological tradition. Over time though, the practice has swung into use in other disciplines as well, including socio-legal studies.

If you want to understand why people behave the way they do, this may be your method of choice. The researcher participates in a social setting whilst observing and writing about this. This immersion in the activities of participants in their own setting offers the opportunity to observe dynamics less visible through interviews or document analysis.

Working at the crossroads of law, anthropology and urban sociology, Chevalier uses participant observation and other ethnographic methods to research the role law plays in urban dynamics, specifically focusing on social interactions and power contestations taking place in diverse public space.

The working language of this session is English. Please register with Aleydis Nissen by 14 December (a.m.h.nissen@law.leidenuniv.nl). She will send you an email confirmation with the link needed to access the session. For the other sessions, please click here.

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