Law, Governance and Belonging

This theme invites a range of papers offering a socio-legal examination of the notion of belonging, broadly conceived, and associated concepts of recognition, defining & enacting citizenship, community, and inclusion/exclusion.  What impact have policy initiatives had on belonging, identity, recognition, and how we perceive and realise citizenship? Is the concept of belonging a valuable means by which to assess the promise of progressive and inclusive policy suggestions? What speculative initiatives might help foster a greater degree of belonging, and how?

An assortment of significant events within the last 10 years have laid bare, renewed, and fashioned deep social and political divisions, with law inescapably implicated. Some of these events have emerged as the symptom of decades of discontent, while others are active in the generation of new anxieties. Examples from the 2010s include: the fallout from both the Scottish independence referendum and the UK referendum on withdrawal from the European Union; the rise and election of populists throughout Europe, the USA, and Australia; the UK government’s hostile environment policy and coincident attitudes towards tightening national borders internationally; and, continuing austerity programmes impacting upon, among other things, welfare and housing policy.

Papers exploring the implication of law in the relationship between belonging and the following list of indicative subjects are welcomed:

  • Concepts of democracy
  • Employee relations
  • Housing
  • Localism, associations, and welfare
  • Migration and borders
  • Planning and infrastructure
  • Theorising belonging, identity, and community


Devyani Prabhat ( and Matthew Howard (