Ritter's presentation was entitled "Symbiotic pluri-disciplinary ecologies between economics and sociology and socio-legal research" and explored the questions: Do social theories matter for law? If the answer to that question is yes, which social theories? And how can social theories be operationalized in law? The abstract elaborated:
The first question is convincingly answered in the form of a legal concept of justice as ‘ecological orientation of law’ developed by G. Teubner. He argues that in order to fulfil the promise of justice law needs to be oriented towards adequacy with its environment. This conceptualization of justice only seemingly turns law towards its environment. As the fluidity of modern society precludes a stable and adequate relationship between law and its environment Teubner’s concept of justice really refocuses law on itself and releases what Teubner calls ‘juridical creativity’ through self-transcendence.
This contribution draws on the observation that Teubner’s concept of justice would be unthinkable outside the framework of systems theory. It argues that if the fundamental legal concept of justice and social theories are closely intertwined, the questions on the just social theories for law as well as their operationalization in law are themselves reconfigured as a matter of interdisciplinarity.
The contribution examines contemporary approaches to interdisciplinarity that draw on a comparative methodology. The latter aims at using multi-disciplinary perspectives in a complementary way by integrating social theories under a common framework. It then problematizes these approaches by analyzing how these strategies risk establishing a hegemonic relation among compared social theories. Against this backdrop the contribution contrasts comparative methodologies to an approach that conceives of the relation between social theories as parasitic. This approach centers on the notion of noise inherent to any social theory and is inspired by the imaginary of ‘parasite’ (M. Serres) as subversive and disruptive force.
Ritter has been kind enough to share both his panel PowerPoint, and brief thoughts on the issues. These follow below. Both are rich sources of a critical conversation about the state of knowledge and its rationalization. It is a reminder of the ongoing transformation of the disciplines, once founded on what had been understood as solid verities. As these verities have weakened new verities, and a new ecology of knowledge must emerge. Or it need not and the structures of knowledge will ossify in endless self reference in which the new is consumed and transformed into the old, and the old becomes more and more detached from the present, and disconnected from the future. It is in this formative stage of change--and choice--the choice to stand still in the present, wander back into the embrace of the past, or embrace what is emerging, will be made. See also Ritter's excellent lecture, Normativity Reconsidered - From Laws of Form to the Form of Law — Jan Hendrik Ritter (28 October 2019). .