Justice & Populations. The Belgian Experience in International is structured around 6 integrated work packages: 4 thematic work packages, in which different national and international partners intervene to examine transnational key aspects of the relationships between Justice and Populations from various disciplinary angles and scales of analysis (macro, meso, micro, long term). The fifth WP is dedicated to the development of joint knowledge management strategies (sources, tools, methods, training, valorisation), aimed to support and promote the research of the entire network. Following a multidimensional and multidisciplinary approach, a variety of social science and historical methods are brought together, ranging from contextual legal history to social policy analysis, critical source analysis, discourse analysis, prosopography, case-studies and criminological field work, involving both quantitative and qualitative expertise of the partners.
WP 3 examines experiences of global crisis and domination, which often induce specific transformations of judicial institutions and practices and, as times and contexts of exception and experiment bring about fundamental shifts in justice-citizen relationships. The focus is on how contexts of crisis or domination affect and are experienced by specific populations subject to justice, and how these, in turn, develop their own mechanisms transforming dominant society.
The research firstly addresses experiences of military domination, including the repression and resistance during periods of French, Dutch, German or Belgian domination/occupation; the role and status of military justice; and post-war retributive policies (amnesty, “incivism”). A second research axis focuses on contexts of colonial domination, examining both colonial law and justice and police systems in the Belgian “colonial empire” (Congo, Ruanda Urundi), in the framework of European colonization. Within both research axes, particular attention is paid to the question how, in contexts of crisis and/or domination, specific risk and at-risk populations are defined, policed and possibly confined: from ‘rebellious’ populations, political opponents and war collaborators, to gypsies, refugees and migrants in contemporary globalized society.