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Doctoral thesis in sociology of law awarded as Faculty's best

Cansu Bostan and the cover of her thesis

Cansu Bostan received the Oscar II Stipend, an annual award for the best doctoral thesis at each of Lund University's faculties defended during the previous two years.

Bostan defended her thesis, Games of Justice: Ethnographic Inquiries on Space, Subjectivity and Law in Northern Kurdistan, in June 2022. She had spent five years studying ethnographically the changing formations of law within the Turkish nation-state. Using the theories of Michel Foucault, she explored how Turkishness shapes regulation, how everyday life is organised in northern Kurdistan, and to what extent the Kurds' justice aspirations comply with Turkish state law. The examining committee called it "a very good, ambitious, and solid thesis made under difficult conditions".

Awarding Bostan the stipend, The Faculty of Social Sciences gave the following motivation:
The aim of the thesis is to explore the diverse ways through which notions of law and justice are given meaning and acted upon in Northern Kurdistan. The aim is also to contribute to the field of socio-legal studies by examining legal ideas, practices, and institutions in their social and historical contexts in general and in particular: 1) the modern spatiotemporal boundaries of the Turkish nation-state and its law and justice narratives, 2) the experiences informing justice aspirations and their translations into the experience distant language of state law, and 3) appearing/disappearing mechanisms attributed justness and functions of legality beyond the state law.

Games of Justice: Ethnographic Inquiries on Space, Subjectivity and Law in Northern Kurdistan is an impressive and original piece that enters a critical and productive dialogue with different research traditions in the sociology of law, providing a solid overview of socio-legal concepts and perspectives. The strength of the piece lies in the careful and reflexive ethnographic frame that allows for diverse subject positions, different stories, and diverse formulations of experiences. The strength lies also in the powerful analytical setting that provides a consistent interpretation of the rich and heterogeneous empirical material. The thesis, while located in Northern Kurdistan, is a contribution towards an understanding of the ways the law and notions of justices are intertwined and given meaning in similar experiences of state violence worldwide. As the author herself suggests in the concluding chapter, the thesis provides tools towards ways of seeing, and as such is a central contribution to social theory.


Read Cansu Bostan's doctoral thesis in the Lund University Research Portal.