The lecture is organised by the CAS project What is a Good Policy? Political Morality, Feasibility, and Democracy (GOODPOL).


Practical information

This seminar will be a hybrid event. This means people can attend physically or online via Zoom. If you wish to join via Zoom, please register using the link below. We will share login detail with registered participants before the event.


Register for Zoom here >


About the seminar

Democratic theory tends to proceed on the assumption that law requires democratic legitimation because it is coercive. However, the claim that law requires democratic legitimation is distinct from claims about the nature of law. This lecture challenges the notion that law is coercive through an exploration of three distinct understandings of the nature of law; the state-based conception of law, law as the rules of institutionalized normative systems and law as social norms. Drawing on insights from legal and democratic theory, the lecturer defends the view that the “law” to which democratic claims apply are the rules of conduct of institutionalized normative systems. Since rules that belong to such systems exist in associations beyond or below the level of the state, the scope of democratic participation is significantly wider than is usually recognized.

About the speaker

Ludwig Beckman is Professor in Political Science at Stockholm University. His past and current research focuses on the relationship between public power and individual rights. He has written extensively on topics such as voting rights of marginalized groups, the measurement and conceptualization of democracy, and the justification of human rights to democracy. He has been responsible for two research projects with funding from Riksbankens Jubileumsfond and the Swedish Research Council on how globalization affects access to political rights and recent developments in international law.

The seminar is organized as part of the project GOODPOL,  hosted by the Centre for Advanced Study at the Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters (CAS).