Prof. Dr. Joachim J. Savelsberg

University of Minnesota

Curriculum VitaeJoachim Savelsberg

Nach dem Studium der Soziologie und der Wirtschaftswissenschaften an der Universität Köln promovierte Joachim Savelsberg 1982 an der Universität Trier in Soziologie. Im Anschluss verbrachte er ein Jahr als Fellow an der Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland. Nach einer Anstellung an der Universität Bremen forschte er als John F. Kennedy Memorial Fellow an der Harvard University. Zudem war er am Kriminologischen Forschungsinstitut Niedersachen e.V. beschäftigt, wo er 1988 zum stellvertretenden Direktor ernannt wurde. Seit 1989 ist Joachim Savelsberg Professor am Department of Sociology der University of Minnesota. Gastprofessuren führten ihn an die Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München (2000), an die Karl-Franzens-Universität Graz (2003-2004) sowie an die Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin (2010-2011). Zudem war er Fellow am Institute for Advanced Studies der University of Minnesota (2007) und, im Rahmen einer Collaborative Residency mit John Hagan und Jens Meierhenrich, am Rockefeller Foundation Bellagio Center (2010). 2008 wurde er zum Fellow auf Lebenszeit der American Society of Criminology gewählt. Darüber hinaus wurde Professor Savelsberg mit zahlreichen Forschungsstipendien und Preisen ausgezeichnet, beispielsweise mit dem Outstanding Book Award der Society for the Study of Social Problems (Social Problems Theory Division, 2012) für die Publikation American Memories: Atrocities and the Law (gemeinsam mit Ryan D. King), dem Best Article Award der American Sociological Association (Section on Culture, 2007) und dem Outstanding Article Award der Law & Society Association (2006). Zuletzt arbeitete Professor Savelsberg an einem von der National Science Foundation geförderten Forschungsprojekt über die Reaktionen westlicher Staaten auf gerichtliche Maßnahmen in Darfur. Zusammen mit seinem politikwissenschaftlichen Kollegen Timothy Johnson ist er nunmehr Herausgeber der Law & Society Review, der Zeitschrift der Law & Society Association. Von August 2013 bis August 2014 war Joachim Savelsberg Fellow am Käte Hamburger Kolleg „Recht als Kultur“.


Global Human Rights Law and National Cultures: Representing, Remembering, and Controlling Mass Atrocities

My book project has the working title “Repräsentationen schwerer Menschenrechtsvergehen: Justiz und konkurrierende Felder im Zeitalter der Globalisierung” (Collective Representation of Human Rights Crimes: Justice and its Competitors in a Globalizing World). I explore comparatively how representations of mass atrocities in the Global South are generated in complex interaction between global and local actors from different fields, and are mediated by the journalistic field to civil societies of eight Western industrialized countries. I am especially interested in a new brand of global legal institutions, especially the International Criminal Court (ICC), part of the “justice cascade” (Kathryn Sikkink). I also examine how the judicial field is supplemented by the – potentially competing – humanitarian aid and diplomacy fields (Pierre Bourdieu). By examining consequences of ICC actions on collective representations, a Durkheiminan theme, the book addresses one aspect of a broader inquiry into the impact of judicial interventions on ongoing and future mass atrocities. It weighs competing ideas from the world polity school (John Meyer) and cosmopolitanism theory (Daniel Levy and Natan Sznaider) against Weberian ideas regarding the filtering of global messages through nation-specific institutions and cultural sensitivities.

My specific case is the mass violence in the Darfur region of Sudan, where ICC intervention has culminated in the issuing of an arrest warrant against the sitting President of Sudan, Omar al-Bashir, charging him with war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide. Data, deriving from a large scale project funded by the National Science Foundation, are based on content analysis of 3400 media reports and editorials from conservative and left-liberal papers in eight Western countries; numerous conversations and some fifty formal in-depth interviews with Sudan experts in foreign ministries and INGOs and with Africa correspondents from major Western newspapers in the countries under investigation; and finally on ethnographic observation.

Chapters of the book-in-progress, following an introduction (Chapter 1) address Darfur in the context of the “justice cascade” (Chapter2); challenges to the justice cascade from the fields of humanitarian aid and diplomacy (Chapters 3 and 4); the mediation of judicial and competing representations through news media generally (Chapter 5), along the left-liberal versus conservative dimension (Chapter 6); and as mediated by national cultural sensitivities and institutional arrangements (Chapter 7). An attempt to explore the external validity of the Darfur case (Chapter 8) precedes a concluding Chapter 9.

Publikationen (Auswahl)

  • Representing Mass Violence: Conflicting Responses to Human Rights Violations in Darfur, Berkeley: University of California Press, 2015.
  • Representing Human Rights Violations in Darfur: Global Justice, National Distinctions (with H. Nyseth Brehm), American Journal of Sociology 121/2, 2015.
  • Highlights in the Sociology of Law: Globalizing Law and Penalizing Human Rights Violations, in: Contemporary Sociology, Vol. 42, No. 2, S. 167-176, 2013.
  • Writing Human Rights History – and Social Science Encounters: Review Essay on Aryeh Neier’s The International Human Rights Movement: A History, in: Law and Social Inquiry, Vol. 38, No. 2, S. 512-37, 2013.
  • Crime, Law, Deviance, in: D. Brunsma et al. (Hrsg.): The Handbook of Sociology and Human Rights, S. 129-138, Boulder, CO: Paradigm 2013.
  • Law and Society (mit Lara Cleveland), in: J. Manza (Hrsg.): Oxford Bibliography Online: Sociology, Oxford: Oxford University Press 2013.
  • Social & Intellectual Contexts of Criminology (mit S. Flood), in: R. Rosenfeld (Hrsg.): Oxford Bibliography Online: Criminology, Oxford: Oxford University Press 2012.
  • American Memories: Atrocities and the Law (mit R. King). ASA Rose Monograph Series. New York: Russell Sage Foundation 2011.
  • Crime and Human Rights: Criminology of Genocide and Atrocities. London: Sage 2010.
  • Law and Collective Memory (mit R. King), in: Annual Review of Law and Social Science 3, S. 189-211, 2007.
  • Institutionalizing Collective Memories of Hate: Law and Law Enforcement in Germany and the United States (mit R. King), in: American Journal of Sociology, Vol. 111, No. 2, S. 579-616, 2005.
  • Constructing White-Collar Crime: Rationalities, Communications, and Power (unter Mitarbeit von Peter Brühl), Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1994.
  • Knowledge, Domination, and Criminal Punishment, in: American Journal of Sociology, Vol. 99, No. 4, S. 911-943, 1994.
  • Law That Does Not Fit Society: Sentencing Guidelines as a Neo-Classical Reaction to the Dilemmas of Substantivized Law, in: American Journal of Sociology, Vol. 97, No. 5, S. 1346-81, 1992.