Université de Strasbourg

Jérôme Beauchez


European Dynamics (DynamE), University of Strasbourg &CNRS

Jérôme Beauchez, USIAS Fellow 2019

From 2009 to 2018, Jérôme Beauchez was a lecturer at the University of Lyon Saint-Etienne, researcher at the Max Weber Centre and member of the experimental research unit, IMU LabEx (Intelligences des Mondes Urbains - Intelligence of Urban Worlds). For two consecutive years, 2016 to 2018, he was selected by the Sociology, Political Science and Legal Sciences department of the CNRS (French National Centre for Scientific Research) for a research secondment at the Institut de recherche interdisciplinaire sur les enjeux sociaux (Interdisciplinary research institute on social issues). From 2013 to 2017, Jérôme Beauchez coordinated the ANR (National Research Agency) programme “SOCIORESIST”. During this time, he managed and directed ethnographical surveys among marginalised populations, studying their capacity to resist daily adversity at the intersection of gender-, class-, or race-related dominations.

These investigations resulted in two books and several dozen articles published by the Parisian School of Advanced Studies in the Social Sciences (EHESS - École des hautes études en sciences sociales), Palgrave MacMillan in New York or in journals such as Sociology, Ethnography, Journal of Contemporary Ethnography, Critical Sociology or Qualitative Inquiry. They describe a “marginal perspective” of social conflicts, the conception of norms, or even that of fundamental freedoms. This is the reason why Jérôme Beauchez is now seeking to undertake a study on the European Court of Human Rights – one of the principal European institutions – where all such ethnographical knowledge has been acquired on the fringes of society and in the most difficult areas.

In doing so, he will continue to work on the norms, the law and fundamental freedoms, but from both a new and complementary perspective in relation to the work already carried out.

Project - The ECHR: Ethnography of a Human Rights Laboratory

01/12/2019 - 30/11/2021

This project aims to conduct an ethnography of the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR). This transnational institution is in charge of ensuring that the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, signed by the 47 Member States of the Council of Europe, is respected. Despite its central role in defining and preserving citizens’ rights Europe-wide, the way the ECHR functions in the day-to-day has only ever been examined from a legal studies perspective. This project proposes to address this shortcoming by taking an ethnographic approach. While the technical analyses of specialists in international law are indisputable, ethnographers can, instead, examine the daily ‘making of law’.

Here, this will consist in describing the modes of interaction and frames of experience composing exchanges between ECHR actors – Registry legal specialists and judges – who, together, embody the principles of fundamental rights conceived at a European scale. The originality of this inquiry lies in its endeavour to understand how the institution’s activities form part of the European ‘rightspace' – i.e. a transnational space of law – of which ECHR is both a supranational representation and one of the last legal lines of defence when its judgments establish that, in a given case, the national law of Member States of the Council of Europe has failed to protect the fundamental rights recognised by these States as signatories to the European Convention of Human Rights.

For this reason, in this study, the micro-observations of ethnography describing the everyday functioning of the Court will always be linked to the major legal issues at stake in preserving fundamental freedoms in Europe.

Investissements d'Avenir