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Founded in 2009, CISRUL aims to produce conversation across the social sciences and humanities on key concepts of the modern polity. Citizenship, civil society and rule of law are three such key concepts, all three of some pedigree but enjoying a new lease of life, prescribed by bodies such as IMF and United Nations, championed by social movements, and debated in the media and in academic research, although we are also interested in related notions such as democracy, human rights, multiculturalism and pluralism. CISRUL is distinguished by:

  • our conceptual approach - we ask searching questions about the concepts, whether to define them clearly or to consider how they get deployed in practice.
  • our serious inter-disciplinary commitment, which goes beyond occasional encounters to aim at full engagement between a large number of disciplines, in which we take time to learn the premises of each other's disciplines in order to understand each other.
  • our global and historical reach that includes but goes beyond the usual focus on contemporary Europe and North America, looking at medieval and early modern Europe but also a range of contexts across Latin America, Africa and Asia.
  • our concern with public engagement, especially with regard to citizenship education as well as to stimulating public debate on hot topics such as energy politics.