Professor Anneke Smit Presents Workshop in Oñati, Spain

Professor Anneke Smit Collaborates to Present Workshop in Oñati, Spain

Professor Anneke Smit, along with Prof. Jane Matthews Glenn (McGill University), and Véronique Fortin (University of California Irvine), organized the successful workshop “Indignation, Socio-economic Inequality and the Rule of Law”, 30-31 May 2013 at the Oñati Institute for the Sociology of Law, Oñati, Spain.  The Institute holds an annual competition for workshop proposals on themes in socio-legal studies.   Successful applicants are awarded use of the Institute’s beautiful workshop facilities, accommodation and meals for all participants, as well as organizational support by Institute staff for the workshop.  “We were also very fortunate to receive a Connections Grant from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC), as well as financial support from Windsor Law, McGill’s Faculty of Law and UCI’s School of Social Ecology” says Dr. Smit.

The organizing principle of the workshop was the idea of indignation (borrowed from the French “indignés” or Spanish “indignados”, local variations on the Occupy movement) over issues related to socio-economic inequality.   The workshop organisers asked the 24 participants to structure their papers around what made them indignant about the issues they were addressing, and what role could law play in rectifying the situation.  Papers tackled a broad range of issues from housing rights, land use planning, regulation of street vendors and homelessness to taxation, grain monopolies and milk subsidies, and childhood obesity.  A strong current of advocacy for social and legal change ran through the papers with many concluding with concrete proposals for reform.  Professor Smit’s paper addressed the disproportionate impacts of expropriation on economically depressed neighbourhoods in North America, making proposals for reform of the expropriation legislation in Canada.

The workshop brought together  a diverse group of academics and activists hailing from, or with strong professional ties to, North America, Europe, South and Central America, and the Caribbean.  Conference papers will be published in Oñati’s open-access, peer-reviewed journal.  As Dr. Smit says, “it was important to all participants that the papers be available to those involved in social movements and law reform projects no matter what their means”.