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Reinventing the Foundations of European Legal Culture 1934-1964 (FOUNDLAW)
Date du début: 1 mars 2013, Date de fin: 28 févr. 2018 PROJET  TERMINÉ 

It is often claimed in the rights and culture debate that certain rights are a reflection of a European culture and tradition and thus not universal. What this study demonstrates is that even in Europe the rights tradition is a conscious construction by a group of legal scholars reacting to contemporary events.This study is about a group of innovators who are forced to reinvent themselves and their science abroad after being exiled by Nazi Germany. This reinvention meant that they had to first rethink all that they had previously done and then to address a new audience in a new language, simultaneously trying to make sense of the catastrophe. In response, they created a theory a common European legal culture, founded on ideals of the rule of law. A reaction to the nationalistic totalitarian regimes, they sought to show a great tradition based on liberty and justice.What this study offers is a twist, in that the reinvention had a second, even more influential life after the war. What the anti-totalitarian narrative formed by the exiles offered to the academic community was an explanation and a new self-understanding of law and legal science as a bulwark against dictatorship, enabling them to respond to the challenge of socialism.Combining archival research, bibliometrical studies and social analysis, the project will study the creation of the rights theory through the intellectual histories of five key figures. Studying correspondence, lecture notes, and published materials on how the idea of a common European legal past was formulated, discussed and disseminated, the project contests the claims of current research that the rights tradition was an accepted historical fact. The starting point of the study, 1934, is the first response to the Nazi takeover and the expelling of civil servants of Jewish ancestry, while the end point, 1964, includes the reaction to the Berlin Wall and the consolidation of the hostilities between East and West in Europe.