About the course
In any academic activity that entails an element of cross-cultural collaboration
the exchange is not only between different persons and different knowledges,
but also between different cultures, i.e., between "different and […]
incommensurable universes of meaning" (Sousa Santos, 2009:108). But how
can we approach the notion of culture and try to make sense out of it in
relation to academic collaboration in the field of legal studies?
In order to structure the study of the area, the approach to intercultural
communication studies taken in this course divides its field of enquiry into a
series of generic dimensions of cultural conventions that can be observed inside
every cultural group, e.g. time perception, power distance, group relations, communication
styles, etc. These culturally shaped dimensions, however, are generally formulated
in generic, unspecific terms and usually no information is available regarding
their application to the specific professional and academic cultures of legal
practitioners and scholars from diverse European countries.
This course aims to fill this gap by developing a set of course
materials dealing with the application of intercultural communication
structures and practices to both the collaboration between law students and
teachers and to the study of the law. For this purpose, the course is divided
into two modules.
The first module (O16.1) offers a concise overview of basic questions
and aspects of intercultural communication that affect team work and
professional collaboration for both students and teachers. This module is
conceived of as a complement to the EDELNet face-to-face Intensive Study
Programs (Summer Schools, Winter Schools, and Staff Trainings) but can also be
taken separately from the face-to-face activities as a training module on its
The second module (O16.2) explores more directly the cultural approach
to legal studies, i.e. law as culture(s). The module reviews different
approaches to the question of whether and how law and legal scholarship in
general are affected by (cross-)cultural factors. This part of the EDELNet intercultural
communication program is not conceived of as a preparation for face-to-face
training activities. Rather, it is meant to stimulate discussions among those
EDELNet members – students, researchers and teachers – wishing to engage in a constructive
dialogue about the approach to legal studies from the point of view of culture.
modules can be taken together or separately. Ultimately, both modules are meant
to serve as a basis for the achievement of one of EDELNet’s main goals, i.e.
the development of an interdisciplinary, cross-culturally sensitive working
community of law students and instructors.