Mikael Rask Madsen

Motivation for awarding The Carlsberg Foundation Research Prize 2019

Mikael Rask Madsen is one of the world’s leading researchers at the intersection between international law, politics and society. His original approach, which combines juridical, humanistic and sociological methods, has led to groundbreaking research in international law, legal sociology and political sociology.

Madsen’s basic research is of the very highest international calibre, as demonstrated by his appointment as director of the research centre iCourts. His research has also found clear and immediate application in society.

Madsen’s research centres on the international courts’ power and authority, including an exploration of their social, legal and political processes. He has demonstrated how judicial authority is actually variable and depends on specific actions both in and around the courts. International organisations such as the Council of Europe and the European Union have made concrete use of this research.

Ever since gaining his PhD at French sociologist and anthropologist Pierre Bourdieu’s research centre at EHESS in Paris, Madsen’s focus has been on the development of empirically based legal science. Through his original refinement of Bourdieu’s field theory and reinterpretation of Max Weber’s sociology of law, he has helped lay the theoretical and methodological foundations for true basic research in legal science. With his authority and scientific standing as both researcher and research centre director, he has been instrumental in setting a new agenda for empirical studies of the international courts around the globe.

Changes of this kind do not happen by themselves. Mikael Rask Madsen has been both productive and dynamic throughout his career. He has authored more than 160 scientific publications, many in the most eminent scientific journals, as well as a number of books.

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