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Spaces of Justice and Courthouse Architecture: A Matter of Political Action? – until May 15, 2014

Editor: Patrícia Branco

The deadline for submission is May 15, 2014

The subject of the spaces of justice, and especially that of courthouse architecture, has been one of the most overlooked topics regarding the study of the law, justice, and the legal system.

The title chosen reflects two questions. On the one hand, the notion of spaces of justice, selected for the following reasons: firstly because of its ideological-political connotation, the issue of space allows us to analyze power relations established at different levels. Secondly, through a more sociological and human connotation, space allows for a wider dimension which is subjectivized in interpersonal relationships. Thirdly, space operates interdisciplinary relationships. Finally, space allows for a plural (that is, open to different tensions and challenges), dynamic (attentive to trends), and contextualized view of the kind of projects validated by a plurality of entities, from public authorities to legal and judicial culture, architectural trends, technologies, the needs of professionals and users, the community, and the passage of time. Thus, the concept space of justice is broad enough to include both courthouses and other spaces where conflict, and its possible resolution, take place.

On the other hand, we have the question of the courthouse as a particular type of building (and space of justice), one whose architectural evolution responded historically to the gradual empowerment of the judicial function, the imposition of new professions (i.e. architects and lawyers), changes in the trial process and last, but not the least, the political, juridical, and economic power of each period. Thus, through the medium of architecture, the building reveals much about prevailing notions of the relationship between the State, the law, lawyers and legal subjects, as well as of the administration of justice itself.

This e-cadernos issue, following the workshop under the same title that took place during the 2013 ISA/RCSL International Meeting, welcomes submissions seeking to analyze from an interdisciplinary point of view a series of problems related to the subject of the institutions of justice, the evolution and history of courts and courthouse architecture, the law and aesthetics, iconography of justice, and other issues relevant to this problematics as long as a perspective of political action is maintained.

E-cadernos ces is a peer-reviewed, online and entirely open access journal, published by the Center for Social Studies in Coimbra. The journal is currently indexed in CAPES, EBSCO and Latindex. For more information about this publication see

Texts should be presented in final version, Portuguese, English, Spanish, or French. Manuscripts must not exceed 60,000 characters (with spaces), including notes and references. For the final section @cetera, other manuscripts may be submitted (up to 35,000 characters), such as interviews and discussions (up to 25,000 characters) or book reviews (up to 5,000 characters).

Detailed guidelines for submitting texts are available at Manuscripts should be sent by email to and authors should clearly identify the thematic issue in question – “Spaces of Justice and Courthouse Architecture: A Matter of Political Action?”.

All manuscripts will go through a blind peer review process.

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