IILJ Call for Papers: Infrastructures as Regulation

Conference Dates: September 28-29, 2018
Deadline for Submissions:  April 15, 2018

Greater Winnipeg Proposed Neighborhoods Schools Parks Recreation Areas (1947). Image source: Wyman Laliberte, courtesy of University of Manitoba Archive & Special Collections. CC by 2.0. Image cropped for display on this website’s homepage. 

Infrastructures—whether physical, informational, digital—can have regulatory-type effects. These include requiring, preventing, channeling, enabling, and nudging particular human and social behavior. Infrastructures also help to shape second-order regulatory-type actions and structures. When stable, these infrastructures exert substantial power in social ordering. They interact or compete with law. In these ways, infrastructures have major effects on social relations, identities, roles, capabilities, and possibilities. We label these phenomena collectively by the moniker “Infrastructures as Regulation” (InfraReg). In our project we focus on regulatory effects of transnationally-connected infrastructures on social orders— e.g. effects on social relations, status, classes and class formation, social mobility, social time, and capabilities—and the interactions between social order and political, economic, and other infrastructure-based orders. More information about the project is available at www.iilj.org/infrareg

The Institute for International Law and Justice seeks submissions for both theoretical and empirical work on themes outlined above. Theoretical lines of inquiry could include:

  • conceptualizations of the combined effects of physical, informational and digital infrastructures as a form of regulation that complements or even replaces law in ordering certain social relations;
  • theorizing about how legal technologies and legal practices interact with, enable, shape, or regulate the constitution and operation of infrastructures-as-regulation, and vice versa;
  • theorizing and developing propositions for the relationships between regulation by infrastructure and other forms of transnationally-influenced order (such as legal order and political order), including in major ordering projects (such as the Belt and Road Initiative).

Empirical work and case studies could address:

  • how infrastructures combine at different scales and in different orders, including cases that illustrate and examine ways in which the interaction between physical, informational, and digital infrastructures operate together as regulation;
  • how specific instances of infrastructure projects are designed or used to require or induce social actors into particular behavior or pathways;
  • the inter-relationship between infrastructures and legal technologies, including cases of infrastructures working in tandem with law, displacing law, or even undermining law as a means to regulate social life;
  • the interactions of activities and systems and people (including human capabilities and rights) with the infrastructure, and the ability of the regulated to influence and contest the design of infrastructures and the legal technologies they use.


Junior and senior scholars as well as experienced practitioners are invited to submit extended abstracts (at least 300-500 words) or full papers (in PDF or Word format) to infraregiilj@gmail.com by April 15, 2018. Please also provide contact details and a CV or link to an author bio.  All applicants will be informed of the selection decisions quickly thereafter. Selection will be based on relevance to the theme, originality of research, innovative perspectives and arguments, and the overall blend and coherence of the conference. Authors invited who choose to take part will be asked to send final papers (ideally in the range of 8000-10000 words) by August 31, 2018.

For those selected from this Call for Papers, the IILJ will provide conference meals, and accommodation for those based outside the New York area.  The IILJ also hopes to be able to assist with economy class travel funding in a limited number of cases where needed, subject to budget constraints.

For more information about the IILJ follow them on Twitter @nyuiilj.

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