Democracy, Freedom and Public Policies

(co-chairs elected on 29 March 2021 and on 18 December 2019)
Emmanuel Aubin,
This research group brings together specialists from the main branches of law - domestic, international, European - and political science, to analyse contemporary transformations of democratic institutions, practices and citizenship from a dual, complementary and interdisciplinary, perspective.

Research is carried out over a wide range of subjects and fields, with the aim of contributing to the critical analysis of current changes in power and law, and, in particular, to determine the state of democratic imperatives and the protection of individual rights.

First of all, this raises issues around the redefinition of citizenship not only in contexts of crisis, of social movements or revolutions, but also in terms of traditional political categories - citizenship, power, norms, the State - as a result of globalization and social, economic or political dynamics beyond State borders. These dynamics in turn produce retreats into identity, such as the resurgence of nationalism, which this research group also studies, relying in particular, on exchanges between lawyers and politicians.

More generally, the goal is also to analyse changes in power relationships and fundamental rights, in particular by examining the strengths and limitations of the law within the framework of various public policies, such as those related to equality and non-discrimination, the fight against social exclusion or vulnerability, access to health care and health protection. This applies not only to issues relating to the status of social rights in the context of welfare state crisis, but also to the question of gender in the field of law and public policies. Within this perspective, particular attention is given to the transformation of the State, be it in terms of exploring reforms to State intervention, by means of participation and citizen information, or by highlighting tensions within public policies, as illustrated by contemporary debates on secularism, integration and social cohesion.

Researchers working in this area combine analysis of specific questions with those of a more theoretical nature and, where appropriate, with comparative studies. To varying degrees, the theoretical dimension irrigates all research in this research group. In particular, the aim will be to develop an in-depth analysis of democracy and citizenship, by focusing on institutions, law, social and cultural norms, but also on the actors and different modes of action in contemporary societies, including the press, the “watchdog” of democracy.