Professor Larry Barnett Presented at the International Sociological Association Meeting
Web Editor - Published: August 3, 2010
Professor Larry Barnett traveled to Gothenberg, Sweden to participate in the International Sociological Association’s meeting from July 11th through 17th. At one of the sessions of the Association’s Research Committee on the Sociology of Law, he presented his study on social, economic, and demographic variables that can help to explain whether same-sex non-marital partnerships or same-sex marriage is recognized by law in fourteen European Union countries. The study, which applied the statistical technique of regression to quantitative data on the fourteen countries, found that law does not occur randomly but is a function of societal conditions.

The session at which Professor Barnett presented his study also included presentations by a professor from Israel and a professor from Poland. “All three presentations at the session generated considerable discussion,” said Professor Barnett, adding, “The discussion of my presentation was quite lively, in part because a central premise of my scholarship challenges conventional wisdom on ‘the rule of law’.” He also noted that he found the meeting very productive, and was impressed to learn that there were approximately 5,000 registrants. “It was my first trip to Scandinavia. I was surprised at how similar Sweden is to the United States,” said Professor Barnett.

Professor Barnett presented his study at the University of Florence, the University of Messina, the University of Milan, and the University of Siena in Italy during March. Dr. Pietro Saitta of the University of Messina was the junior author of the study.

The International Sociological Association currently holds meetings every four years, with plans to shorten the interval to two years in the future. The ISA, founded in 1949 under the patronage of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), consists of 55 research committees. The Research Committee on the Sociology of the Law, or the RCSL, includes both social scientists and lawyers among its members. Its current president and one of its two vice presidents are professors at law schools in Italy. In years when the ISA does not meet, the RCSL holds meetings on its own.