Siri Gloppen

Siri Gloppen

Professor, Department of Comparative Politics and Director of the Centre on Law & Social Transformation, University of Bergen

Siri Gloppen​ has extensive experience leading international, interdisciplinary research teams. Over the last ten years, she has been the PI for six multi-year projects, acquired through competitive grants and involving researchers from institutions on five continents and from a range of disciplines (Law, Political Science, Anthropology, Economics, Psychology, Philosophy, Medicine). She has also played a central role in acquiring grants for and implementing eight other research projects in this period. The projects focus on the role of rights, law and courts in political change and social development, investigating how this plays out in different fields – from climate change, indigenous rights, land- and water rights, via health, reproductive right and gender equality, to elections and autocratization dynamics.  Commitment to excellent, interdisciplinary, research addressing urgent global challenges is at the centre of the projects, which are ambitious in terms of theory development, methodology and empirical analysis. They are also implemented in close dialogue with practitioners and students.

The close integration of research and learning are also at the core of the Centre on Law & Social Transformation (LawTransform) of which she is the founding director. LawTransform is jointly owned by the Chr. Michelsen Institute and the University of Bergen but is a global Centre with fellows from all continents and a wide range of disciplines. The annual research conference, Bergen Exchanges on Law & Social Transformation – which includes a PhD course – brings together internationally leading scholars, students and practitioners and have become a vitalizing space for socio-legal research in Bergen and a global hub for research on law and social change. LawTransform, and the individual research projects involve practitioners – judges, policy makers, activist – as dialogue partners to secure that their insights are reflected, that the projects are useful, and the findings known. She has also extended the research into more directly applied work (World Bank, Norad).

Her main contribution to the field of socio-legal studies is the conceptualisation, theorisation and empirical study of the use of law and legal institutions at a political tool and strategy for social change – how this plays out in different contexts, is engaged by diverse actors, and in various policy fields and institutional arenas. This includes conceptualising and analysing how actors face different legal and political opportunity structures based on their resources, barriers and allies, as well as how they are normative and epistemically embedded. In recent years she has particularly focused on the use of legal arenas and strategies in long-standing political battles between starkly opposed groups – theorised as lawfare.  Based on this theoretical core, she has developed analytical frameworks for the different projects she has directed to systematically explore legal-political dynamics and lawfare processes across regions and thematic fields.