Jens DrolshammerWird die Globalisierung selbst zu einem Forschungsfeld?

2.12 Jens Drolshammer, Wird die Globalisierung selbst zu einem Forschungsfeld?, in Verlangt die Globalisierung eine Neuausrich-tung der Forschung? Beispiele von Forschungsfelder Recht und Management aus Sicht des Internationalen Lawyers, p. 432 – 437; In Jens Drolshammer A Timely Turn to the International Lawyer? – Globalisierung und die Anglo-Amerikanisierung von Recht und Rechtsberufen – Essays. Zürich/St. Gallen, 2009. (partially in German)

[Is globalization itself becoming a field of research?]


a) Background

The text at hand is an excerpt from a book by Jens Drolshammer. It is the final part  looking into the future: Wird die Globalisierung selbst zu einem Forschungsfeld? (Will globalization itself become a field of research?). The text reflects the lack of awareness on globalization, at the time, in the legal profession in Switzerland, both academic and practitioners, due to traditional structures in education and professional life. We recall the statement by Wolfgang Wiegand in 1988, that at the time when he started his research on the issues of the reception of American law, he did not find any legal scholarly text whatsoever dealing the phenomena in Switzerland. As a modest early bird in addressing the teaching needs, Drolshammer at the time of writing the essay, besides being a visiting research professor at the Harvard Law School, starting in 1999 and from 2003-2008 was a regular and frequent guest at the Kennedy School of Government of Harvard University in particular in the Centre for Business and Government. He was faced with an entirely different way and different quality of addressing globalization in an academic institution in which forty percent of students and thirty percent of professors are non-Americans. In response, as an argumentative strategy and way to raise consciousness of the issue in Switzerland, the text was written for a Globalization Studies Project at the Kennedy School. The Kennedy School of Government is a policy school in which the phenomenon of globalization became a key teaching and research topic early on and was an excellent place to develop such a text.

b) Summary

The text is an agenda oriented call for action to make a major step in research in view of globalization to make it in itself a proper topic of research. The text uses the document by analogy of a scientist in charge of a research project of the Kennedy School of Government of Harvard University.

The following quote from Alfred North Whitehead, an eminent American scholar in mathematics, philosophy of science and education, speaks to the ethos of Jens Drolshammer’s text: “That the faculty has to cultivate is activity in the presence of knowledge. What students have to learn is activity in the presence of knowledge. This discussion rejects the doctrine that students should first learn passively, and then, having learned, should apply knowledge. It is a psychological error. In the process of learning, there should be present, in some sense or other, a subordinate activity of application. In fact, the applications are part of the knowledge. For the very meaning of the things known is wrapped up in their relationship beyond themselves. This unapplied knowledge is knowledge shorn of its meaning. The careful shielding of a university from the activities of the world around us is the best way to chill interest and to defeat progress. Celibacy does not suit a university. It must make itself with action.”

The text at hand analogizes the application orientation in teaching to a research orientation; the description of the then research project is identified in the text as a whole. The text argues that the lawyers, who are known as “legasthenics of progress” in teaching (Thomas Hoeren) in view of globalization should not become (legasthenics of progress) in the field of research as well. The text reproduces a project document on a Globalization Studies Project of the Centre of Business in Government of the John F. Kennedy School of Government of Harvard University. The text is worded by the then executive director of the project, Neil Rosendorf. The text proposes to develop guidelines of research to reach goals of education such as: the internationalization of education such as compatibility, comparability and competitiveness in view of increased interoperability in the fields of research on globalization in Europe as well. The text attempts to bring about a new research mind-set, new research topics and new research networks and hopefully produces an adequate European answer to the preponderance in the field of American leading universities.

c) Text

This text is currently not available.

© Prof. Jens Drolshammer,,

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